LOCAL HERO (1983) on 35mm: Block Museum - Northwestern University
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LOCAL HERO (1983) on 35mm

Two men in suits walking on a beach
7 PM

Event Details

Date & Time:

Thu February 2, 2023
7 PM


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


Open to the public



(Bill Forsyth, 1983, 111 min, 35mm)


The business of international oil speculation has never been so wistfully depicted as in LOCAL HERO, Bill Forsyth’s beloved comedy about the clash between old-world values and 80s opportunism. The film follows a young American oil executive (Peter Riegert) sent by his eccentric CEO (Burt Lancaster) to a community in northern Scotland to negotiate for drilling rights—only to be charmed by the bucolic village life. Made at the height of the North Sea Oil boom of the 1980s, this endearing and richly observed film reflects the contradictions of Reagan/Thatcher-era optimism, offering an idealized–but deeply alluring—picture of the power of local culture to both resist and benefit from extractive industry.

Shown in a rare 35mm print, with an introduction by Tristram Wolff, Associate Professor of English at Northwestern.

About the speaker:

Tristram Wolff is Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literary Studies at Northwestern University. He is the author of Against the Uprooted Word: Giving Language Time in Transatlantic Romanticism, recently published by Stanford University Press.

About the series: CRUDE AESTHETICS

Across a feast of genres, including melodrama, comedy, thriller, and documentary, the films of Crude Aesthetics: Oil on Film reveal the entanglement of visual culture with the dark progress of the global oil industry during the past century. The power of oil, its predatory optimism, has left a fascinating, contradictory, and sometimes vanishingly subtle record in the history of cinema. Programmed as part of the Kaplan Humanities Center’s “Energies” Dialogues, Crude Aesthetics brings together screenings, talks, and discussions to explore the ways film media of the past century have shaped how we see — or learn not to see — the fuller impacts of our fatalistic dependence on oil.

Co-presented with support from the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, the Climate Crisis and Media Arts Working Group, the Department of English, the Environmental Humanities Working Group, the Comparative Literary Studies program, the Department of Radio, Television, and Film, the Department of Spanish & Portuguese, the Department of French & Italian, the Middle East and North African Studies program, the School of Communications Humanities Council, the Environmental Policy & Culture Program, and the Screen Cultures program at Northwestern University.

Contact The Block Museum of Art for more information: (847) 491-4000 or email us at block-museum@northwestern.edu