Special Programs

Date Film Time
2/20 Through a Lens Darkly 7 pm
2/21 Athina Rachel Tsangari in Person 2 pm
2/26 The Stuart Hall Project 7 pm
2/27 Girlhood 7 pm
3/5 Creature from the Black Lagoon 7 pm

This winter Block Cinema presents an eclectic assortment of one-night screenings including two recent documentaries (Through a Lens Darkly and The Stuart Hall Project) that investigate representations of race, colonialism, and cultural theory, respectively. Also screening is the acclaimed new French film, Girlhood, about a black teen coming of age in Paris. We also welcome two special guests, 3-D scholar Kristen Whissel who will discuss the format in the classic film, Creature from the Black Lagoon, and finally, we welcome a leading light in Greek cinema's renaissance, filmmaker Athina Rachel Tsangari (Attenberg) who will appear in person to present two of her most recent short works.

Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People

Friday, February 20, 2015 7:00 PM FREE
(Thomas Allen Harris, 2014, USA, DCP, 92 min.)

Inspired by Deborah Willis’ book Reflections in Black, Through a Lens Darkly (Willis is also a co-producer) casts a broad net that begins with filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris’ family album. It considers the difference between black photographers who use the camera to define themselves, their people, and their culture and some white photographers who, historically, have demeaned African-Americans through racist imagery. The film embraces both historical material (African-Americans who were slaves, who fought in the Civil War, were victims of lynchings, or were pivotal in the Civil Rights Movement) and contemporary images made by such luminaries as Roy DeCarava, Gordon Parks, and Carrie Mae Weems. The film reveals deeply disturbing truths about the history of race relations while expressing joyous, life-affirming sentiments about the ability of artists and amateurs alike to assert their identity through the photographic lens.–Film Forum

In person: Deborah Willis

Please Note: Space is limited, arrive early. Seating will be first-come, first-served.

Athina Rachel Tsangari in Person

Saturday, February 21, 2015 2:00 PM FREE

A leading light in Greek cinema's renaissance, filmmaker Athina Rachel Tsangari (Attenberg) appears in person to present two of her most recent short works. Commissioned for the annual DesteFashionCollection, whose goal is to create dialogue between the world of cinema, fashion and fine arts, The Capsule (2012, DCP, 35 min.) is a mythopoetic Greek Gothic work in which seven young women gather to perform surreal and mysterious rites of desire, discovery and discipline. Featuring works by cutting edge fashion designers, it's equal parts horror film, dreamscape, and absurdist send-up of the fashion industry's conceits of "femininity."

Preceded by her micro-short, 24 Frames Per Century (2013, 2 min.) commissioned by the Venice Film Festival.

Approximate program running time is 70 min.

Sponsored in part by Department of Radio/Television/Film.

The Stuart Hall Project

Thursday, February 26, 2015 7:00 PM FREE
(John Akomfrah, 2013, UK, DCP, 103 min.)

Acclaimed British documentarian and film essayist John Akomfrah’s portrait of sociologist and cultural critic Stuart Hall (who died in 2014) is a remarkable look at one of the great contemporary intellectuals. Hall was Jamaican-born, black, and rose up through the 1950’s white academic establishment in Britain, not only becoming a respected professor and writer but also a public figure who used the mass media to discuss race, class, politics, and more. It is these television and radio appearances that Akomfrah primarily draws from, letting Hall’s own words shape the film, along with excerpts of jazz great Miles Davis, a particular passion of Hall’s. Akomfrah creates an intimate, accessible document without sacrificing the ideas that dominated Hall’s thinking and life.


Friday, February 27, 2015 7:00 PM
(CĂ©line Sciamma, 2014, France, DCP, 113 min.)

Fed up with her abusive family situation, lack of school prospects and the “boys’ law” in the neighborhood, Marieme starts a new life after meeting a group of three free-spirited girls. She changes her name, her style, drops out of school and starts stealing to be accepted into the gang. When her home situation becomes unbearable, Marieme seeks solace in an older man who promises her money and protection. Realizing this sort of lifestyle will never result in the freedom and independence she truly desires, she finally decides to take matters into her own hands.

In French with English subtitles.

Creature from the Black Lagoon (in 3-D)

Thursday, March 5, 2015 7:00 PM FREE
(Jack Arnold, 1954, US, 35mm, 79 min.)

After the discovery of a large webbed claw, a group of scientists searching for a “missing link” between sea and land animals head deep into the Amazon to a place feared by natives, “the Black Lagoon.” Creature stands as genre film pioneer Jack Arnold’s most lasting creation from a career spanning decades. The film, which was made in the short but prolific 3D boom between 1952 and 1954, does use some clichéd “pop-out” 3D effects but also tactfully utilizes the technology to submerge the audience with a sense of dread in the film's underwater shots.

Introduced by film scholar, Kristen Whissel, Associate Professor of Rhetoric at UC Berkeley.