Passport to Global Cinema: Contemporary International Films: Block Museum - Northwestern University
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Passport to Global Cinema: Contemporary International Films

Passport to Global Cinema: Contemporary International Films

Event Details

Date & Time:

Fri October 5, 2012 - Fri November 30, 2012


The Block Museum of Art
40 Arts Circle Drive
Evanston, IL 60208


Open to the public


Join us for an ongoing series of screenings showcasing some of the best new films from around the world. This yearlong film series is part of the Global Languages Initiative at Northwestern, which was created to emphasize the need for global fluency in the 21st century, to celebrate linguistic diversity, and to promote cultural literacy. We kick off the series this fall with several award-winning films from across the globe, including our opening film, Japanese master Kore-eda’s I Wish, a simple yet affecting tale of two young boys coping with their fractured family; and our closing night film, Barbara (Germany), the critically acclaimed new film from Christian Petzold. Plus the award-winning European films Elena (Russia) Sister (France/Switzerland), and Shun Li and the Poet (Italy).

Co-presented with the Global Languages Initiative, Northwestern University.

Special support provided by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences


I Wish (Kiseki)

Friday, October 5, 2012 7:00 PM
(Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2011, Japan, 35mm, 128 min.)

In this disarming family drama by the critically acclaimed Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda (Still Life, Nobody Knows), two young brothers, Koichi and Ryunosuke (played by real-life siblings), begin the slow, awkward process of growing up after they are separated following their parents’ divorce. The elliptical narrative shifts between the lives of the two boys, with 12-year-old Koichi serving as the film’s emotional center point–it is his quixotic belief that a wish involving high-speed trains can reunite his broken family. “Delightful and uplifting”—Hollywood Reporter



Friday, October 19, 2012 7:00 PM
(Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2011, Russia, 35mm, 109 min.)

One of the most striking films to come out of Russia in recent years, Elena follows a middle-aged housewife whose world is rocked when an unexpected illness befalls her wealthy second husband and former employer. In order to provide for her adult children, Elena makes a desperate decision. Featuring powerful, restrained performances and a suspenseful score by composer Philip Glass, Elena is a gripping exploration of family loyalties and the class divide in modern Russia. Winner of the Un Certain Regard Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.


Sister (L’enfant d’en haut)

Friday, November 2, 2012 7:00 PM
(Ursula Meier, 2012, France/Switzerland, 35mm, 100 min.)

Sister, the second feature by rising-star director Ursula Meier focuses on 12 year-old Simon and his older sister Louise (Léa Seydoux, Midnight in Paris, Inglorious Basterds), who live in poverty near a ski-resort. Simon steals what he can from the resort to support himself and his directionless sibling. Meier’s tale of youthful indiscretion and recklessness takes a more serious turn when a secret threatens Simon and Louise’s relationship. Sister is reminiscent of the Dardenne brothers’ work and won a special Silver Bear award at this year’s Berlinale.

Advance screening courtesy of Adopt Films.


Shun Li and the Poet (Io Sono Li)

Friday, November 16, 2012 7:00 PM
(Andrea Segre, 2011, Italy, 35mm, 100 min.)

Two lost souls connect when Shun Li, a Chinese immigrant, moves to an Italian seaside community and meets a weathered but warm-hearted Slavic fisherman named Bepi. Struggling to assimilate and working tirelessly to pay off her debt to her sponsor and ensure safe passage of her son to Italy, Shun Li (played by Zhao Tao, who has worked extensively with famed director Jia Zhang-ke), takes solace in Bepi’s paternal kindness. But when their unlikely friendship sparks gossip and threatens Shun Li’s future, she finds herself facing an onerous dilemma. Deliberately paced and beautifully photographed, Shun Li and the Poet is a poignant reflection on immigration.



Friday, November 30, 2012 7:00 PM
(Christian Petzold, 2012, Germany, 35mm, 105 min.)

Over the last decade, Christian Petzold has become one of the most acclaimed directors in contemporary German cinema. In Barbara, he continues to impress, winning the directing award at this year’s Berlinale. Set in East Germany in 1980, Barbara is the story is of a doctor sent to a small country hospital as punishment for applying for an exit visa. Removed from familiar surroundings and frustrated in her attempt to join her lover in the West, Barbara plays a waiting game, stoically enduring Stasi harassment while plotting her escape.

Advance screening courtesy of Adopt Films.

Contact The Block Museum of Art for more information: (847) 491-4000 or email us at