Spring into Block Cinema: films to see this quarter

    Spring Quarter at Northwestern is known for more than just heightened student morale and confusing weather patterns. It’s also a time for intense social media blasting and endless programming from some of the biggest student organizations on campus. A&O Productions showcases three concerts, Fusion Dance Company debuts some epic dance moves at their highly-anticipated spring show and let’s not forget about Dillo Day (fingers crossed). In all the marketing madness, you might lose track of some smaller events around campus.

    Block Cinema, the film-oriented side of the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, releases a new film lineup each quarter. Even though most films screened at the Block are only $4 for students, your spring break spending may very well have made you spring “broke,” so NBN combed through this quarter’s options to find the most promising films that are, happily, free.

    In Jackson Heights
    190 min. (U.S. 2015)

    What it’s about: The melting pot aesthetic branded to America rings true as Frederick Wiseman films life in Jackson Heights, a Queens neighborhood that some say is one of the most diverse in the world, with 167 languages represented. Wiseman delves into the social, political and economic issues affecting the people of Jackson Heights. 

    Why you should watch it: One of the largest and most controversial issues on Northwestern’s campus and across the entire country is the integration and embrace of diversity and inclusion, as seen in the recent ASG election. Come to the showing and live vicariously through the success and struggles of a master documentarian who tried to shed light on such issues. Even better, following the screening, there will be a moderated Q&A with Wiseman himself.

    When it’s screening: Monday, April 18 at 3 p.m.

    Catch My Soul
    97 min. (U.S. 1974)

    What it’s about: This one is for all you literature aficionados with a love/hate relationship with Shakespeare. Thought to be doomed to obscurity after the overpowering release of Jesus Christ Superstar the same year, Catch My Soul resurfaces at the Block for those looking for an abstract adaptation of Shakespeare's Othello. Filmed as a rock opera, with Othello as an evangelist at a hippie commune and Iago as a demon, the film raises eyebrows. 

    Why you should watch it: The setting, cast and complete distortion of the original written adaptation should be enough to grab some literature-loving students’ attention. Filmed in the 1970s, the film’s director Patrick McGoohan was able to snag Richie Havens and Tony Joe White, artists who were all the rage way back when. Besides the obvious pull of obscurity and absurdity, this screening is the opening event for The Northwestern ShakespeaRevel, a festival sponsored by the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, celebrating 400 years of Shakespeare. 

    When it’s screening: Friday, April 22 at 7 p.m.

    Buen Día, Ramón
    120 min. (Mexico/Germany 2013)

    What it’s about: Director Jorge Ramírez Suárez brings us a heart-warming film that highlights the journey of a young immigrant, but with an interesting twist. After being denied entry into the United States, a young man chooses to leave his home in Mexico to journey to Germany. It’s not your average European immigrant story, and his tumultuous travels pull on those heart strings that have, let’s face it, been through some wear and tear by this point in the school year.

    Why you should watch it: Amid the current refugee crisis abroad, this film helps shed light on some of the issues immigrants and refugees face while crossing borders in attempts to create better lives for themselves and their families. Block brings us an opportunity to experience the anger, fear and anxiety of immigration through the eyes of the protagonist, an opportunity that many Northwestern students are don't usually get. An added attraction: this screening takes place during week 5 of the quarter, a time when we all deserve to have our hearts smile.

    When it’s screening: Wednesday, April 27 at 6 p.m.


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