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Northwestern Film in March

Block Cinema screens films by Benjamin Avila, Agnes Martin and Ben Shapiro

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Block Cinema’s March calendar includes an advance screening of “Clandestine Childhood,” director Benjamin Avila’s first feature film based on his childhood living under Argentina’s military dictatorship in the 1970s. “Gabriel,” the only film that celebrated abstract painter Agnes Martin ever made; and filmmaker Ben Shapiro’s new documentary, “Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters,” an insightful look at the renowned photographer’s artistic process, will also be shown.

All three films will be screened in the James B. Pick and Rosalyn M. Laudati Auditorium at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, 40 Arts Circle Drive, on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus.

Unless otherwise noted, general admission to Block Cinema is $6 for the general public or $4 for Block Museum members, Northwestern faculty, staff and students, students from other schools with valid IDs, and individuals aged 65 and older. Quarterly passes are $20. Tickets are available one hour before showtime. For more information, call the Block Cinema Hotline at (847) 491-4000 or visit the Block Cinema website at



A long-term construction project on Northwestern’s south campus has closed vehicle access to the Block Museum and Arts Circle Drive. Free parking is available in the lot directly south of the museum. For directions and parking information, visit


The Passport film series continues to show some of the best new films from around the world. Selections include sneak previews of upcoming releases and films without U.S. distribution, providing an opportunity to see some of the most talked-about films from the international film festival circuit yet to be on DVD or at the multiplex. This yearlong film series is part of the Global Languages Initiative at Northwestern University, which emphasizes the need for global fluency in the 21st century, celebrates linguistic diversity and promotes cultural literacy.



In this recurring series, Block Cinema screens American and international films – from revered classics to more obscure works that deserve a second look.


In this ongoing series, Block Cinema presents new films by and about artists.



Passport to Global Cinema, “Clandestine Childhood,” 7 p.m. Friday, March 1 (Benjamin Avila, 2012, Argentina, Spain and Brazil, video, 110 minutes). For his first feature film, director Benjamin Ávila drew upon his own childhood for inspiration, combining the stirrings of first love with the uncertainty of life under the military dictatorship of 1970’s Argentina. Twelve-year-old Juan returns to Argentina with his family, who have been in exile in Cuba because of their political activism. Living in constant danger and with a falsified identity, Juan (now Ernesto) adapts to his surroundings -- finding friends, young love and a comfortable routine. Soon, though, his parents’ activism threatens the childhood normalcy he craves. This special advance screening is courtesy of Film Movement.

Revivals and Rediscoveries, “Gabriel,” 3 p.m. Saturday, March 2 (Agnes Martin, 1976, United States, video, 78 minutes). The celebrated abstract painter Agnes Martin’s only film, “Gabriel,” is a stylistic departure from Martin’s work on canvas. Structured as a very loose, minimal narrative, it is, in Martin’s words, “about this little boy who climbs a mountain and all the beautiful things he sees.” Martin used this framing device to present a film about a more casual kind of looking than her compositionally-precise geometric paintings demand. “Gabriel” sees Martin in a playful artistic mode: “My movie is about happiness, innocence, and beauty.” This is a rare opportunity to see another side of one of the great artists of mid-century modernism. The film is co-presented with White Light Cinema. Screening copy courtesy of The Pace Gallery.

Art on Screen, “Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters,” 7 p.m. Friday, March 8 (Ben Shapiro, 2012, United States, video, 79 minutes). Filmmaker Ben Shapiro had unprecedented access to famed contemporary photographer Gregory Crewdson during the decade Crewdson was shooting his photographic series “Beneath the Roses.” Crewdson’s photo shoots are elaborate affairs involving careful lighting design, set construction, casting, detailed editing, color correction and digital compositing. The results are spectacular -- hinting at the work of David Lynch, Diane Arbus and Edward Hopper, who he cites as influences. It is an insightful look at Crewdson’s unusual artistic process.

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