Block Cinema: Block Museum - Northwestern University
Skip to main content

Block Cinema

Block Auditorium

Block Cinema is dedicated to encounter, exchange, and learning through the art of the moving image.

The Block Museum is home to one of the region’s most innovative cinemas. Through its quarterly screening series “Block Cinema,” the museum explores the global past and present, showcasing film and other time-based media across genres, from classic to experimental.

This free, in-house cinema is dedicated to providing Northwestern, the North Shore, and Chicago a quality venue for film and to highlighting the diversity of voices and practices in the media arts field. Post-screening discussions with a filmmaker or scholar, are a staple of the program, providing a unique opportunity for audiences to gain valuable context about the works and offering unique insights into the creative process. In keeping with the Museum’s commitment to presenting art across time, culture, and media, media art is a staple of the Block Museum’s exhibition program.

Always free and open to all

Upcoming Screenings

Apr245:30 PM

IN VANDA'S ROOM (2000) with Pedro Costa in person

Widely considered a landmark in contemporary cinema, Costa's first digital video film IN VANDA’S ROOM is an astounding meditation on memory, loss, and the real-time razing of a neighborhood subjected to urban renewal. Followed by conversation with the filmmaker.
Apr266 PM


Join us for a night of cinematic treasures with Pedro Costa. His reverent and revelatory documentary portrait of artists Straub-Huillet is both about the process of film editing and an unexpected romantic comedy that dives into issues of the ethical and aesthetic implications of filmmaking. Paired with a classic Straub-Huillet film screened on a stunning 35mm print.
May37 PM

THE HILLS (2023) with Ines Sommer

Chicago filmmaker Ines Sommer’s newest documentary THE HILLS connects a legacy of industrial steel pollution in the city's South East Side to underseen labor histories and current environmental struggles. Screened alongside two short films about Chicago's steel production and historical activist movements. Sommer will be joined by urban geographer Mark Bouman (Field Museum) for a post-screening conversation.
May97 PM

Dancing Flowers and Sprouting Seeds: Films of Botanical Motion

Spanning over 100 years, this program curates a bouquet of films using cinematic time and time-lapse technologies to see plants in new ways. This program includes a range of films from late 1800s pioneering plant studies to recent experimental and avant-garde films presented in digital and 16mm films. Introduction by media scholar Colin Williamson.
May107 PM

Film Talks - A Touring Program of Experimental Cinema (Program 2)

A touring program from the UK makes its way to the Block with an exciting selection of experimental films by eleven artists who are featured in the new book "Film Talks: 15 Conversations on Experimental Cinema" with editors Andrew Vallance & Simon Payne in person.
May306:30 PM

Avant-Garde Apocalypse: THE END (1953, 16mm) and 23RD PSALM BRANCH (1966, 8mm)

A rare screening of two landmark avant-garde films, Christopher Maclaine's THE END (1953) and Stan Brakhage's 23RD PSALM BRANCH (1967), which both confront the cataclysms of the 20th century. Shown in original 16mm and 8mm film formats.
"We’re very conscious of the valuable role that university cinemas like ours can play in the ecosystem of non-theatrical film. We look for opportunities to support and showcase the work of distributors who are expanding access to adventurous cinema, archives that are preserving endangered cinematic legacies and scholars and filmmakers who are promoting a more inclusive film culture.
We try to act as a conduit between that international community of passionate cinema workers, and diverse local communities at Northwestern and beyond, who see cinema as a way to encounter the world and exchange ideas."

– Michael Metzger, Pick-Laudati Curator of Media Arts, Block Museum



Explore conversations and stories from past Block Cinema programs