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Block Cinema Unveils Spring 2015 Programming Highlights

Season opens with Buster Keaton classic, “The Navigator,” with live piano accompaniment

  • Special event examines role of social media in national conversation about race and law
  • 1952 Technicolor “Moulin Rouge” captures spirit of Block’s “Toulouse-Lautrec Prints”
  • Poetry and Poetics Colloquium to present rare films on African-American poets
  • Block Cinema favorites, Sonic Celluloid and Rare Baseball Films, back for another year

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Block Cinema’s spring 2015 film schedule is sure to have something for everyone. With five series and a total of 20-plus screenings from April through early June, the calendar is packed with everything from Hollywood classics and films examining justice and guilt to art on the screen.

Northwestern University’s Block Cinema screens classic and contemporary films and is dedicated to providing the Northwestern campus, the North Shore and the Chicago area with a quality venue for cinema. Block Cinema is sponsored in part by a generous gift from James B. Pick and Rosalyn M. Laudati.

All Block Cinema 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.

Block Cinema Spring 2015 highlights

• The new season kicks off April 2 at 7 p.m. with “The Navigator,” a Buster Keaton action comedy presented as part of the series, Buster on the Run. This series features three evenings of classic 1920s Keaton films showing a wide assortment of Busters hoofing it across the screen. Paradoxically a star and working-class performer, this iconic American actor, vaudevillian, comedian and filmmaker embodied a friendly distrust of utopia that has aged well. “The Navigator” will be screened with live musical accompaniment by pianist David Drazin. For information on this and the other two Keaton films in this series, visit www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/view/cinema/buster-on-the-run.html.

• Block Cinema also has planned six films linked to an upcoming Block Museum exhibition, “The Last Supper: 600 Plates Illustrating Final Meals of U.S. Death Row Inmates,” an installation by Julie Green of 600 plates depicting the last meal requests of U.S. death row inmates, which will be open to the public from May 9 through Aug. 9. The related series, titled The Last Supper: Race, Class and Justice on Screen, presents documentaries and fictional films that question the ambiguity of guilt, the finality of death, and the role of race and class in the judicial system. With stories of police violence, racial tension and criminal justice in headlines daily, these films offer visitors a chance for reflection and conversation.

As part of this series, on May 27 at 6 p.m., Block Cinema interim curator Will Schmenner and the School of Communication’s Harvey Young, associate professor of theatre, will appear in “When You CAN’T Shake It Off,” a program designed to explore the role and use of social media in creating a national conversation about race, law and the limits of police power. For more on “The Last Supper” series, visit www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/view/cinema/the-last-supper.html.

• Art on Screen returns to Block Cinema this spring with two documentaries that shed light on the inner workings of two national art museums: Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum and London’s National Gallery. One of these films, “National Gallery,” released in 2014, has received great critical acclaim, including a review in The New York Times that called it “pleasurable and immersive” and “unexpectedly moving.” It will be screened on April 9 at 7 p.m. For more on this series, visit www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/view/cinema/art-on-screen_spring-2015.html.

• Block Cinema’s ongoing Lay of the Land: New Documentaries series continues this spring with an April 24 screening at 7 p.m. of two films. “Waiting for August,” a new documentary set in Romania follows a 14-year-old girl who is raising her six younger siblings while her single mother works 1,000 miles away in Italy. “Half-Life of War,” a short documentary about the way people remember and chose to forget the trauma of war, will be introduced by its director and filmmaker, Northwestern’s Kyle Henry, assistant professor of radio, television and film in the School of Communication.

• As always, Block Cinema’s schedule features screenings that don’t fit neatly into a category, but stand on their own. On April 3 at 7 p.m. the Block will screen John Huston’s 1952 film “Moulin Rouge,” which is set in 19th-century Paris. Huston’s Technicolor adaptation of a fictionalized biography of the French artist captures the spirit of the Block Museum’s “Toulouse-Lautrec Prints: Art at the Edge of Modernity” exhibition, which runs through April 19 in the Katz Gallery.

On April 23 at 7 p.m., Block Cinema will participate in the Northwestern University Poetry and Poetics Colloquium symposium “Radical Poetics: Archives, Forms, Social Movements” by hosting Poetry on Public Television: the 1960s. This program will begin with a reception and feature rare documentary films on African-American poets, all produced for National Educational Television in the mid-1960s. This program is FREE.

Back for another year, Sonic Celluloid, a collaboration with Northwestern’s student-run radio station WNUR, is planned for May 8 at 8 p.m. Rare Baseball Films, another Block Cinema event that draws a great crowd year after year, is scheduled for June 5 at 7 p.m. Film shorts featuring baseball legends Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson and others will be introduced by Dave Filipi, director of film/video at the Wexner Center for the Arts at Ohio State University. For more on these and other special programs, visit www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/view/cinema/special-programs_Spring-2015.html - 8.

Unless otherwise noted, admission is $6 for the general public and $20 for a quarterly pass.

Admission is $4 for Block Museum members, Northwestern faculty and staff, students and seniors. Doors open one hour prior to show time.

For more information on all upcoming spring films, visit www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/view/cinema/index.html.

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