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Block Cinema Screenings at Northwestern In April

Northwestern University Spring series includes contemporary and classic films and more

  • Director Frederick Wiseman to attend April 18 screening of his film “In Jackson Heights”
  • “Navajo Talking Picture” questions the notion of what it means to be a cultural outsider
  • Shakespeare 400 Chicago Screening of Patrick McGoohan’s “Catch My Soul” April 22
  • Block Cinema to host Festival of (In)appropriation April 29

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Block Cinema’s Spring 2016 series of contemporary and classic film features a new series on migration; special screenings, including an early 1970s film inspired by a Shakespeare play, and a one-night festival of video work that repurposes pre-existing work, including revisions of the McCarthy hearings and love letters to Britney Spears. 

Northwestern University’s Block Cinema provides the Evanston campus, the North Shore and Chicago with a quality venue for cinema. More information available online.

Block Cinema Spring 2016 Series

  • The new Contemporary Migrations: Destination Europe series, through May 11, features multiple languages and uses both narrative and quasi-documentary styles, to bring to the fore questions about migrants, refugees and our responsibilities as we learn about the underlying persecution, torture and violence that prompted their journeys to Europe.
  • Block Cinema also will present special screenings of “In Jackson Heights,” April 18, a recent film by master documentarian Frederick Wiseman, who plans to attend the screening; and director Patrick McGoohan’s “Catch My Soul,” April 22, a 1974 rock opera adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Othello” set in a hippie commune and starring 1970s musicians Richie Havens as Othello, and Tony Joe White as Cassio. Havens is known for his intense and rhythmic rock style, and White is best remembered as the “king of swamp rock.”
  • Sonic Celluloid -- now in its 14th year -- is a special May 6 event that features musicians performing live with their own original compositions or improvised scores to films or videos of their choosing.


Unless otherwise noted, general admission to Block Cinema is $6 for the general public or $4 for 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 and space is limited.

The following Block Cinema events will take place 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’s Evanston campus.

For more information, call the Block Cinema Hotline at 847-491-4000 or visit the Block Cinema website. More information also is available on Northwestern’s new Arts Circle website.


  • Contemporary Migrations series, “Mediterranea” (Jonas Carpignano, 2015, Italy, France, United States, Germany and Qatar, DCP (Digital Cinema Package), 107 minutes) 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 13. Jonas Carpignano’s striking feature-film debut follows two friends from Burkina Faso who cross the Sahara, and then the Mediterranean, in search of opportunity and a better life in Italy. Ayiva and Abas soon discover that things will not be easy in their new home: poor living conditions, exploitative work and prejudice towards immigrants are the rule. Carpignano’s handheld camerawork and close framing capture the confusion the men experience in this strange land. “Mediterranea” is a stark look at the gulf between hope and reality. Many of the scenes are adapted from experiences of real-life immigrant Koudous Seihon, who gives a standout performance as Ayiva.
  • Special Screening:“In Jackson Heights” (Frederick Wiseman, 2015, United States, DCP (Digital Cinema Package), 190 minutes) 3 p.m. Monday, April 18, FREE. For more than 50 years, master documentarian Frederick Wiseman has been exploring American institutions and social structures with a sharp eye for nuance and an influential observational approach. In this, his most recent film, Wiseman trains his lens on the extraordinary diversity found in the titular Queens, New York, neighborhood. Shopkeepers, religious groups, LGBT activists, longtime denizens, newly arrived gentrifiers, and a thick stew of ethnicities, races and languages all combine in what is one of Wiseman’s most moving and political works. The screening will be followed by a conversation with director Frederick Wiseman that will be moderated by School of Communication faculty member Debra Tolchinsky, associate professtor of radio, television and film. Click here to RSVP. In Person: Director Frederick Wiseman will attend the screening.
  • The Inconvenient Indian series, “Navajo Talking Picture” (Arlene Bowman, 1985, United States, DVD, 40 minutes)7 p.m. Thursday, April 21, FREE. The film follows director Arlene Bowman, an assimilated Navajo film student at UCLA, as she attempts to document her grandmother’s traditional way of life on a reservation. Playing the role of director, narrator and subject, Bowman faces a language barrier and direct objection from her grandmother, who sees the filming as a violation of her privacy. “Navajo Talking Picture” questions the notion of what it means to be a cultural outsider, as generations of Navajo face the complexities of documenting their heritage.
  • Shakespeare 400 Chicago Screening, “Catch My Soul” (Patrick McGoohan, 1974, United States, DCP (Digital Cinema Package), 97 minutes) 7 p.m. Friday, April 22, FREE. Missing and presumed to be lost for years, it is difficult to believe that a film like “Catch My Soul” was ever made. Directed by Patrick McGoohan (famous for co-creating and starring in the 1960s television series “The Prisoner”), the film is a rock opera adaptation of “Othello.” In this version of Shakespeare’s play, set in a hippie commune, Othello is an evangelist and Iago is a Mephistophelian demon. Featuring an unusual cast of musicians from the 1970s, including Richie Havens and Tony Joe White, “Catch My Soul” didn’t attract the same critical success as “Jesus Christ Superstar” (which was released only seven months prior). The film never found its audience and quickly faded into obscurity, from which it has only recently been resurrected. This screening will be projected from a new restoration scan of the recently located original negative. The film is being screened in conjunction with Shakespeare 400 Chicago, a yearlong international arts festival celebrating the vibrancy, relevance and reach of Shakespeare spearheaded by Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
  • Contemporary Migrations series, “Buen Dia, Ramón (Jorge Ramírez Suárez, 2013, Mexico and Germany, DVD, 120 minutes) 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 27, FREE. A twist on the usual European-immigrant story, this is a heart-warming film of a young man who travels to Germany not from Africa or the Middle East, but from Mexico. Unable to make his way into the U.S., Ramón decides to go to Germany in search of the aunt of a friend. Unable to find her, his situation threatens to become desperate until he meets Ruth, a retiree who takes Ramón under her wing. A hit in Mexico, “Buen Dia, Ramón” is a charming and affirming tale of an unlikely friendship.
  • The Inconvenient Indian series, “Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner” (Zacharias Kunuk, 2001, Canada, digital, 172 minutes) 7 p.m. Thursday, April 28, FREE. This is the first feature film written, directed and acted entirely in Inuktitut. Based on an Inuit legend, “Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner” was celebrated by international audiences, but, more importantly, by the traditional indigenous community whom it depicts and who financed and supported its production.
  • Special screening, Festival of (In)appropriation Traveling Show #8 (various artists, 2010-14, United Sates, Argentina, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Sweden and Spain, digital, approxomately 93 minutes) 7 p.m. Friday, April 29, FREE. Founded in 2009 and curated by film scholars Jaimie Baron, Lauren Berliner and Greg Cohen, the Festival of (In)appropriation is a yearly showcase of contemporary, short audiovisual works that appropriate existing film, video or other media and repurpose it in “inappropriate” and inventive ways. From Afro-Futurist fantasias and forensic historical revisions of the McCarthy hearings to South Pole conquests and love letters to Britney Spears, this eighth edition of the festival promises an astonishing kaleidoscope of aesthetic methods, philosophical positions and political impulses. Brace yourselves for a sophisticated testament to the enduring power and vast potential of appropriation cinema in the new millennium! The screening will be introduced by the School of Communication faculty member Eric Patrick, associate professor of radio, television and film.

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