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November Films at Northwestern

Directors PJ Raval and Eliza Hittman to attend Block Cinema screenings of their films

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Block Cinema will screen new and recent films and a revered classic in November. A Nov. 9 matinee screening of “Before You Know It,” a new documentary by PJ Raval about the lives of several LGBT elders, will be co-presented with Reeling: The Chicago LGBT International Festival. It will include an in-person visit by the director.

All 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 65 and older. Quarterly passes are $20. Tickets are available one hour before show time. For more information, call the Block Cinema Hotline at (847) 491-4000 or visit the Block Cinema website.


• The New Documentaries series spotlights important historical, contemporary and political issues. In addition to the Nov. 9 screening of PJ Raval’s  “Before You Know It,” on Nov. 14, Block presents  “Let the Fire Burn,” a documentary exploring the controversial 1985 bombing of the African American group MOVE’s headquarters by Philadelphia police. The series concludes Nov. 22 with Sophie Fiennes“The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology,” in which philosopher Slavoj Zizek dissects everything from corporate coffee to Nazi aesthetics.

• In the recurring Revivals and Rediscoveries series, Block Cinema will screen American and international films -- from revered classics to more obscure works -- that deserve a second look. On Nov. 15, Block will present one of the more bizarre and unforgettable examples of American independent cinema, Trent Harris’ “The Beaver Trilogy.” Sean Penn and Crispin Glover portray “Groovin' Gary,” a real-life Olivia Newton-John superfan.

• Two recent films in the Contemporary Independents series focus on characters struggling to connect meaningfully with others. Screening Nov. 7 is “It Felt Like Love,” by new director Eliza Hittman, a coming-of-age story about a teenager’s awkward attempts to gain sexual experience. Jem Cohen’s “Museum Hours,” about the unlikely friendship between a museum guard and a museum visitor, is a subtle, powerful celebration of the restorative power of art. It will be screened Dec. 6.


Contemporary Independents, “It Felt Like Love,” 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, FREE FOR NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY STUDENTS (Eliza Hittman, 2013, United States, DCP, 82 minutes). In director Eliza Hittman’s debut feature, newcomer Gina Piersanti gives a nuanced performance as lonely 14-year-old Lila whose confused longings for love, romance, acceptance and adventure lead her dangerously astray. She fixates on an older boy and is soon drawn into a world she’s not prepared for. Hittman’s sensitivity to the awkwardness, humiliations and colliding feelings of adolescence gives her coming-of-age story a powerful and honest edge. Director Eliza Hittman will attend the screening.

New Documentaries, co-presented with Reeling: The Chicago LGBT International Film Festival, “Before You Know It,” 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9 (PJ Raval, 2013, United States, video, 110 minutes). By documenting the lives of three gay men, “Before You Know It” explores the issues faced by seniors in the LGBT community. The facts are sobering, especially regarding unequal access to social services and health care, but director PJ Raval’s documentary focuses on how individuals and communities work to lessen the discrimination and create new models of support and affirmation. Through the lives of 70-something widower Dennis, who came out late in life and has embraced his cross-dressing, LGBT activist Ty, who longs to marry his partner, and gay bar owner Robert, we see that the fears, joys and realities of aging are universal. The screening is co-sponsored by the Senior Programs at Center on Halsted; Northwestern’s departments of radio, TV, film and gender and sexuality studies, and The Sexualities Project at Northwestern (SPAN). Director PJ Raval will attend the screening, which will be followed by a panel discussion.

A special admission price will apply. No Block Cinema passes or vouchers will be accepted. More information on this screening and a complete festival lineup can be found at Reeling LGBT International Film Festival.

New Documentaries, “Let the Fire Burn,” 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14 (Jason Osder, 2013, United States, video, 95 minutes). First-time director Jason Osder’s riveting new documentary sheds light on the 1985 bombing of the African American group MOVE’s headquarters by Philadelphia police. The bombing, and resulting fire, killed five children and six adults and destroyed an entire neighborhood. Using archival materials, including court recordings, home movies and television broadcasts, Osder looks at the tragedy and captures MOVE members’ frustrations and the impatience and confusion of authorities. “Let the Fire Burn” is a raw and vital film about the consequences of mutual mistrust and a reminder of a fading pivotal moment in the pursuit of racial justice.

Revivals and Rediscoveries, “The Beaver Trilogy,” 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15 (Trent Harris, 2000, United States, video, 83 minutes). One of the most original examples of American independent cinema, “The Beaver Trilogy” is three-films-in-one. The first, filmed in 1979, is a documentary portrait of Beaver, Utah resident, would-be-celebrity, and Olivia Newton-John super-fan “Groovin’ Gary.” The second and third parts, filmed in 1981 and 1985, are dramatic re-enactments and interpretations of Gary’s life, featuring performances by Sean Penn (1981) and Crispin Glover (1985) as Gary. A cult film that is equal parts strange and poignant, the film was the subject of a segment on Ira Glass’ radio show, “This American Life.”

New Documentaries, “The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology,” 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22 (Sophie Fiennes, 2013, United Kingdom and Ireland, DCP, 136 minutes). In this entertaining sequel to the critically acclaimed “The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema (2006), Slovene cultural critic and philosopher Slavoj Zizek holds forth in his own unmistakable and infectious style. He speaks on the nature, construction and function of ideology, using examples from two dozen films (including “The Sound of Music, “Taxi Driver,” West Side Story,” “Jaws” and “Titanic”) and expands his investigation to encompass Coke, Kinder Eggs, Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” Starbucks, and politics and political ideology. Zizek provides an intellectual thrill ride that is stimulating, dizzying and never boring.


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 Block Museum.

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