woman parting curtains and holding a flashlight

Block Cinema

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


Current Series

The Navigator

Buster on the Run


This small selection of Buster Keaton films features a wide assortment of Busters hoofing it across the screen. There is the wealthy Keaton of The Navigator, fleeing from a marriage proposal gone wrong; the middle-class Keaton running off to college to try and get the girl; and the working-class Keaton dashing away from both the anarchist gangs and the cops in the selection of shorts.

The Passion of Joan of Arc

The Last Supper: Race, Class, and Justice on Screen

This spring Block Cinema presents a film series linked to the exhibit The Last Supper: 600 Plates Illustrating Final Meals of U.S. Death Row Inmates. The companion film series, which divides into two strands, asks similar questions about the ambiguity of guilt, the finality of death and the role race and class play in the judicial system. One strand features documentaries focused on the issue of the death penalty in America. The other strand brings in fictional films that offer different historical and cultural perspectives on the issue of capital punishment and the complexities of justice in societies struggling with inequality. The series also offers a look at how social media shapes the national discussion about race, law, and the limits of police power through a conversation with Will Schmenner, Block Cinema Interim Curator, and Harvey Young, Northwestern Theatre Professor entitled “When You CAN'T Shake If Off.”
Waiting for August

Lay of the Land: New Documentaries


The winter series of contemporary documentaries continues into the spring with an evening of screenings that shines a light on war, economic hardship and European immigration. A theme that unites this series has been the idea of land and place, and that carries over into this evening, whether it’s the search for home, work, or community; foreign policy issues; returning home from war; or leaving home to find work.

Co-curated and co-presented with Northwestern’s MFA in Documentary Media program. This program is FREE for Northwestern students with ID.

The New Rijksmuseum

Art on Screen


Art on Screen, Block Cinema’s on-going series of films about art, continues with recent documentaries about two different national galleries: the recently renovated Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the National Gallery, London. Mine these national galleries for their trove of images and stories about visual culture, national politics, and arts education. With introductions by Lisa Corrin, Director of the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, and Art History Professor Claudia Swan.

Rare Baseball FIlms

Special Programs


This spring Block Cinema presents an eclectic assortment of one-night screenings including visits from the Iranian documentarian Pouran Derakhshandeh and Chicago-based experimental filmmaker Chris Sullivan, a screening of 1952's Moulin Rouge, an evening of rare documentary films on African-American poets, a FREE screening of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, and two annual programs: Sonic Celluloid and Rare Baseball Films.


Unless otherwise noted:

  • $4.00 for Block members; University faculty, staff and students with valid WildCARD; students from other schools with valid college/university ID; seniors 60 and older
  • $6.00 for the general public
  • $20.00 for a quarterly pass

Doors open one hour prior to showtime and space is limited. Please arrive early to purchase your tickets.

Block Cinema films are screened in the Block Museum’s Pick-Laudati Auditorium. See Directions and Parking for information on how to get to the Musuem. Parking is free in the lot south of the Block after 4 p.m. weekdays and all day on weekends.