Skip to main content

Block Cinema

Block Auditorium

The Block Museum is home to one of the region’s most innovative cinemas. Through its quarterly screening series “Block Cinema,” the museum offers a balanced and expansive program that presents film and other time-based media across genres, from classic to experimental, with a global perspective.

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 stable of the Block Museum’s exhibition program.

Films By Date

May247 PM

Barbara Hammer: Declarations of Identity

Our second program dedicated to Barbara Hammer’s pioneering work includes new prints of six films, including recent restorations of Sisters! (1973), Menses (1974), and Audience (1981).

May297 PM

Yeelen (1987)

A landmark in African cinema, Souleymane Cissé’s film is set in the Malian empire of the 13th century and depicts the quest of a young son across the West African landscape to confront his father, a tyrannical magician.
May307 PM

The Image You Missed (2018)

Taking place during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, Foreman’s poignant, brilliantly edited essay film raises difficult questions about the nature of family, representation, and activism both then and now.
May317 PM

Branco Sai, Preto Fica (White Out, Black In, 2014)

This hybrid film uses many genres and forms to interrogate the politics of Brazil. The tropes of dystopian science fiction are used to portray the real-life disparity between those who build the cities and those who get to live in them.
Jun57 PM

9 to 5 (1980)

This film remains a classic for many reasons: its top-tier cast, catchy theme, and the powerful way it blends comedy with a rallying cry for working women.
Jun67 PM

Waiting for Happiness (2002)

Set in a Mauritanian coastal town at the edge of the Sahara Desert, Waiting for Happiness elliptically explores the gateways between Africa and Europe, tradition and modernity, childhood and adulthood.

Jun117 PM

The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019)

A wistful odyssey populated by skaters, squatters, street preachers, playwrights, and other locals on the margins, this film is a poignant and sweeping story of hometowns and how they’re made—and kept alive—by the people who love them.
Jun127 PM

NU DOCS Program 1: RETROSPECTIVES (2019)

We're proud to present the thesis films of the Class of 2019!  Please join us for FREE for this first of three nights of screenings. Doors opens at 6:15pm for pre-screening reception.

Jun137 PM

NU Docs Program 2: TEMPORALITIES (2019)

We're proud to present the thesis films of the Class of 2019! Please join us for FREE for this second of three nights of screenings. Doors opens at 6:15pm for pre-screening reception.
Jun147 PM

NU DOCS Program 3: STRUCTURES (2019)

We're proud to present the thesis films of the Class of 2019! Please join us for FREE for this final of three nights of screenings.

Film Series

Saharan Exchanges

Saharan Exchanges

April 10 Through June 6

One of the most distinctive and extreme environments in the world, the Sahara Desert has a fascinating cinematic history. While Western filmmakers have sought sublime spectacle among the dunes since the silent era, North African and sub-Saharan filmmakers have also used the desert as a backdrop for bold experiments in style and narrative. Programmed to complement the Block’s exhibition Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time, the diverse films in Saharan Exchanges prove that the vast expanses of the region cannot be exhausted by any single genre or perspective.


Visual Pleasures

Visual Pleasures: The Work and Play of Women’s Liberation

April 17 Through June 5

This year’s One Book One Northwestern selection, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, imagines how the hard-fought economic and sexual freedoms won by the women’s movement might be stripped away. The films in this series, co-presented with One Book, the Northwestern Women’s Center, and the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies, manifest those freedoms in both form and content. Visual Pleasures encompasses both mainstream comedies of empowerment and experimental representations of desire through a distinctly female gaze, celebrating liberation through a spectrum of cinematic forms.


Personal Archives

Personal Archives, Political Memories: The Radical Past in Contemporary Documentary

April 25 Through May 30

As activists around the world revisit the successes and failures of earlier political movements, a new wave of documentaries and essay films have begun to look beyond official archives, recovering lost, forgotten, and unseen images to tell stories of struggle. Whether incorporating family photos, home movies, or decades-old documents of protest, the films in this series explore turbulent histories through a distinctly personal lens.