Skip to main content

November Films at Northwestern

Block Cinema to screen films from France, Germany and the United States

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Block Cinema continues to celebrate the centennial of the birth of Henri Langlois (1914-1977), who was responsible for saving countless films from destruction by the Nazis or decay due to indifference and neglect.

Through early December, Block will screen a selection of works championed by Langlois, a founder, director and curator of the Cinémathèque Française in Paris, one of the world’s most celebrated film archives.

As a curator, Langlois introduced the best of world cinema to future critics and filmmakers (Godard, Truffaut, Rensais and countless others) and inspired a generation of writers, scholars, curators and directors through his legendary screenings and cinema museum.

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

Visit the Block website for a complete list of programs at:


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 60 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 at


• Tribute to Henri Langlois, DOUBLE FEATURE, “Daïnah la Métisse” 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 7, “Daïnah la Métisse, (Jean Grémillon, 1932, France, 35mm, 51 minutes). This early sound film from Jean Grémillon offers an unflinching take on race and class. (Gaumont cut the film by 39 minutes when first released, and the footage has never been restored.) “On an ocean liner where there's always music or a masked ball to occupy the wealthy passengers, the desirable Daïnah, mixed-race (métisse) wife of the ship's black magician, has a fateful encounter with a white engine mechanic.” -- Cleveland Cinematheque. Followed by: Remorques,” (Jean Grémillon, 1941, France, 35mm, 91 minutes). Long one of the most unheralded of the classic French filmmakers, Grémillon’s reputation has continued to climb over the past decade or two. His career spanned 35 years, but he is best known for a quintet of late 1930s and early 1940s films, including this one. Iconic French actor Jean Gabin stars as a tugboat captain who is torn between his ailing wife (Madeleine Renaud) and the captivating woman he rescues one night (Michèle Morgan). As with his other wartime films, Grémillon combines romanticism with a darker, fatalistic tone that mirrors the mood of a country under occupation.

• Tribute to Henri Langlois, DOUBLE FEATURE, “ Langlois” (Roberto Guerra, Eila Hershon, 1970, United States, DCP, 52 minutes.) 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13). This documentary, made in 1970, offers a whimsical and anecdotal portrait, interspersing interviews with Langlois’ associates and admirers (Lillian Gish, Simone Signoret, Catherine Deneuve, Kenneth Anger and Viva, among others) with footage of him as he walks around Paris, holding forth on anything from a house in which Jean Renoir once lived to the black-and-white swans he spies in a park -- Langlois found cinematic overtones in virtually everything. – Excerpted from the The New York Times. The film was restored in 2014 by the Cinémathèque Française and Kathy Brew.  The special advance screening courtesy of East Village Entertainment. It will be preceded by the short film: “All the Boys are Called Patrick,” (Jean-Luc Godard, 1959, France, video, 21 minutes). Parisian university students Charlotte and Véronique are pursued by a pick-up artist in this early collaboration between Jean-Luc Godard (who directed) and Eric Rohmer (who wrote the script). “Patrick” is a charming gem, made right before Godard’s breakout feature film, “Breathless” (“À bout de soufflé”). It will be followed by: “Citizen Langlois” (Edgardo Cozarinsky, 1995, France, 35mm, 68 minutes). Cozarinsky's 68-minute documentary about Henri Langlois, the idiosyncratic co-founder of the French Cinematheque and spiritual father of the French New Wave, was awarded the 1995 Forum prize at the Berlin gathering of the International Federation of Film Critics. The jury cited it as \"a brilliant essay revealing a multifaceted grasp of a major pioneer for whom cinema was the ultimate nationality.

• Tribute to Henri Langlois, “Selected Short Films of Germaine Dulac,” 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14 (approximate running time is 90 minutes). Best known for what is considered the first Surrealist film, “The Seashell and the Clergyman” (1927), Germaine Dulac made close to 30 fiction films, as well as documentaries and newsreels. A feminist and avant-garde pioneer (and an ardent supporter of the Cinémathèque Française), Dulac’s lyrical approach to cinema involved music, movement, rhythm and “the material of life itself” and her rich and diverse filmography is enjoying a much-deserved rediscovery. This screening will include a selection of her short films, including “The Seashell and the Clergyman” and other works. The  screening will be introduced by Tami Williams, author of the new book, “Germaine Dulac: A Cinema of Sensations” and will include live musical accompaniment by pianist Matti Bye.

• Tribute to Henri Langlois, “The Wind,” 6 p.m. (note early start time) Saturday, Nov. 15 (Victor Sjöström, 1928, United States 35mm, 95 minutes.) Letty Mason (Lillian Gish) moves from Virginia to live with her male cousin in the harsh windswept Texas plains. When jealousy consumes her cousin’s wife, Letty is forced out of the house and into a loveless marriage while dealing with the bleak landscape and its brutal blasts of wind. The final silent film of its star, Lillian Gish, and director, Swedish auteur Victor Sjöström, “The Wind” was panned by many American film critics but celebrated in Europe, thanks in part to its breathtaking cinematography filmed in the Mojave Desert. The screening will feature live piano accompaniment by Stockholm-based musician Matti Bye, and Foley sound effects performed by members of Toronto-based Footsteps. (NOTE: Foley sound effects are performed live to simulate sounds such as wind, footsteps, doors opening, etc.) The archival 35mm print is from the George Eastman House.

• Tribute to Henri Langlois, “Unter den Brücken” (“Under the Bridges”), 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20 (Helmut Käutner, 1945, Germany, 16mm, 95 minutes.) Another favorite of Langlois, “Unter den Brücken” tells the story of two lonely bargemen who vie for the affection of a troubled young woman. Remarkably, the film was shot in Berlin in 1944 during the final days of Germany’s defeat, though the war is conspicuously absent from the narrative. In fact, the story was inspired by the Poetic Realism of French director Jean Vigo’s 1934 film, “L’Atalante” (screening at the Block at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5). In an interview after the war, director Helmut Käutner commented on the attitudes of some German filmmakers, himself included, and their refusal “to allow any of the horror which surrounded us to seep into our work.” The film will be screened with support from the Goethe-Institut. This screening will be introduced by Anna Parkinson, assistant professor of German in Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.

• Tribute to Henri Langlois, “Grand Illusion” and “Hôtel des Invalides,” 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21. “Grand Illusion” (Jean Renoir, 1937, France, 35mm, 114 minutes). Along with Renoir’s “The Rules of the Game,” “Grand Illusion” is among the French auteur’s greatest films. Set during World War I, it stars Jean Gabin as working class Lieutenant Maréchal who attempts to escape from a German POW camp, and Erich von Stroheim as Captain von Rauffenstein, the camp’s commandant and out-of-touch aristocrat. The film is an unforgettable commentary on class and the meaninglessness of war and the inevitable end of an era. The film was made on the eve of World War II and banned by the Nazis. It will be preceded by: “Hôtel des Invalides” (Georges Franju, 1952, France, 35mm, 22 minutes.) This short documentary made by Georges Franju (Cinémathèque Française co-founder and director of “Eyes Without a Face”) is a haunting meditation on past wars, via artifacts from François I’s armor to Napoleon's tomb and beyond.

For more information on upcoming films, visit - 7

Topics: Visual Arts

Editor's Picks

Back to top