Special Events

Block Cinema's fall film season begins on Friday, September 23 with a classic of early Soviet filmmaking and a masterpiece of silent cinema, Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin. Also upcoming is a book signing and lecture on Iranian cinema with Northwestern University Professor, Hamid Naficy; and a special co-presentation with Reeling: The Chicago International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.

Battleship Potemkin

Friday, September 23, 2011 7:00 PM
(Sergei Eisenstein, 1925, USSR, 35mm, 69 min)

Eisenstein’s early masterpiece, presented in a stunning new restoration, tells the true account of an ill-fated sailors’ uprising in the port city of Odessa in 1905. Made in celebration of the event’s twentieth anniversary, Potemkin focuses on the oppressive conditions the sailors endure and their attempt to overthrow their tyrannical officers. Though made as propaganda, it transcends that label—it’s a dynamic film that combines a compelling story with a robust style. Eisenstein highlights the chaos and volatility of this important historical moment through his masterful editing, particularly in the famous “Odessa Steps” sequence. This restoration features the original German score by Edmund Meisel, recently recorded with the 55-piece Deutsches Filmorchester. 

Lecture: A Social History of Iranian Cinema

Friday, September 30, 2011 5:00 PM FREE
(Program length is approximately 90 minutes)

Please join us for a lecture by Northwestern professor, Hamid Naficy, one of the world’s leading authorities on Iranian film, to mark the publication of his monumental 4-volume book, A Social History of Iranian Cinema (Duke University Press, 2011). Included in the lecture will be clips from a variety of pre-revolutionary Iranian films, from the silent era through the 1970s. A book signing and reception will follow the lecture, and a limited number of books will be available for purchase at the event. Co-sponsored by the Department of Radio/TV/Film.

Please note the early (5 pm) start time!

Martha Marcy May Marlene

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 7:00 PM
(Sean Durkin, 2011, USA, 35mm, 101 min.)

Martha Marcy May Marlene is a powerful psychological thriller starring Elizabeth Olsen as Martha, a young woman rapidly unraveling amidst her attempt to reclaim a normal life after fleeing from a cult and its charismatic leader (John Hawkes). Seeking help from her estranged older sister Lucy (Sarah Paulson) and brother-in-law (Hugh Dancy), Martha is unable and unwilling to reveal the truth about her disappearance. When her memories trigger a chilling paranoia that her former cult could still be pursuing her, the line between Martha's reality and delusion begins to blur.

Free sneak preview courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures.

Reeling: The Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival: Pariah

Friday, November 11, 2011 7:00 PM
(Dee Rees, 2011, USA, 35mm, 84 min.)

The acclaimed Sundance hit Pariah is the feature-length expansion of writer/director Dee Rees’ award-winning 2007 short film of the same name. African-American teenager Alike juggles multiple identities to avoid rejection from her friends and family, vacillating between being a proud butch among her openly gay friends and being the feminine, obedient girl that her strict Christian upbringing dictates that she be. Living with her parents and younger sister in Brooklyn, life is tense and her parents’ marriage is strained. When she takes the bus into New York City to go clubbing, an entirely different world awaits her, one with go-go dancers, thumping music, and butch bravado. With the boisterous support of her best friend, out lesbian Laura, Alike is quietly but firmly embracing her identity as a butch lesbian, and is eager to find a girlfriend. Torn by mounting pressure from home, school, and within, the line between her dual personas wears thin with explosive consequences.

Special admission price will apply. No Block Cinema passes or vouchers accepted. More information on tonight’s program and a complete festival lineup can be found online at reelingfilmfestival.org.

Reeling: The Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival: A Few Days of Respite

Friday, November 11, 2011 9:00 PM
(Amor Hakkar, 2010, France, 35mm, 79 min)

Fleeing Iran to avoid imprisonment or death because of their homosexuality, Mohsen and his younger lover, Hassan, illegally enter France, traveling separately to avoid suspicion. On a train, Mohsen meets Yolande, a kind, middle-aged woman who is traveling to her home in a small town outside of Paris. Yolande takes a liking to Mohsen and, suspecting he is an illegal, helps him out by offering him temporary work painting her flat. In need of money and a place to lie low, he decides to accept the job. Tensions rise when Hassan becomes jealous of Yolande’s obvious affection for Mohsen. After a series of unanticipated events, Hassan is forced into hiding in Yolande’s attic. His relationship to each becomes increasingly complicated, leading to secrets, conflicting allegiances, and possibly betrayal.

Special admission price will apply for both films. No Block Cinema passes or vouchers accepted. More information on tonight’s program and a complete festival lineup can be found online at reelingfilmfestival.org.