Contemporary International Cinema

Join us for an ongoing series of screenings showcasing some of the best new films from around the globe. With selections ranging from sneak previews to films without U.S. distribution, moviegoers will have the opportunity to see some of the most talked-about films from the international film festival circuit that aren’t yet available on DVD, at the local art house cinema, or in the multiplex.

This spring, Block Cinema presents three new works from Mexico, Germany and Belgium, respectively. First up is a free Earth Day screening of Alamar, the award-winning Mexican film about a father and his young son living along the stunning Banco Chinchorro reef. Also screening is Vision, German master Margarethe von Trotta’s latest feature about the 12th century Benedictine nun, Hildegard von Bingen. Finally, we’ll present a sneak preview of Johan Grimonprez’s Double Take, a wry and thought-provoking meditation on the master of suspense—Alfred Hitchcock.

Alamar

Thursday, April 22, 2010 7:00 PM FREE
(Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio, 2009, Mexico, 35mm, 73 minutes)

In his sophomore feature, director Gonzalez-Rubio gracefully weaves the nature film, the family drama, documentary, and fiction into a fluid tapestry that defies categorization. Before relocating to Rome with his Italian mother, five-year-old Natan spends the summer fishing with his father along Banco Chinchorro—the richest coral reef in Mexico. As Natan discovers the rural lifestyle of his Mayan ancestors, what emerges for the audience is a meditation on how the connection between human beings and their environment can be felt as powerfully as the bond between fathers and sons. Winner of the Rotterdam International Film Festival’s Tiger Award. In Spanish and Italian with English subtitles.

Vision

Thursday, May 20, 2010 7:00 PM FREE
(rethe von Trotta, 2009, Germany, 35mm, 110 minutes)

Von Trotta, Germany’s foremost feminist filmmaker, chronicles the life of Hildegard von Bingen, a 12th century nun who struggled with the divine gift of vision—defying the conventions of her age and her church to write books, compose music, found and run her own convents, and speak out publicly against corruption in the clergy. Following the screening, Northwestern professor Barbara Newman will lead a discussion of the film. This event coincides with the exhibit The Once and Future Saint: Two Lives of Hildegard of Bingen, April 26–August 27, at the Northwestern University Library. Copresented by the Northwestern University Library.

Double Take

Friday, June 4, 2010 7:00 PM
(Johan Grimonprez, 2009, Belgium/Germany/ Netherlands, video, 80 minutes)

An ingenious hybrid, Double Take is part mock-documentary, part conceptual provocation, and altogether a thought-provoking, hugely entertaining piece that does for Alfred Hitchcock what Orson Welles did for himself in his myth-making F for Fake. Using a zippy assemblage of TV and newsreel material, artist/filmmaker Johan Grimonprez muses on Hitchcock's persona and humor, reading his films of the late 50s and early 60s against the climate of Bomb-era political anxiety. Grimonprez leaves viewers to draw their own conclusions about identity, filmmaking, power and paranoia, but the film's love of Hitchcock—artist, public face, TV clown—is unmistakable and very infectious. – London Film Festival.