Block's in house cinema screens classic and contemporary films and is dedicated to providing the Northwestern campus, the North Shore and Chicago with a quality venue for cinema. The Block's cinema is sponsored in part by a generous gift from James B. Pick and Rosalyn M. Laudati.

Doors open thirty minutes prior to showtime. Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Films are screened in the Block Museum’s Pick-Laudati Auditorium. See Directions and Parking for information on how to get to the Museum. Parking is free in the lot south of the Block after 4 p.m. weekdays and all day on weekends.

Current Series

Raising Bertie

Raising Bertie


This new documentary about black teenagers fighting to stay afloat in rural North Carolina maintains the urgent, socially-engaged tradition of Kartemquin Films (Hoop Dreams). Chicago-based first-time director Margaret Byrne confronts grim circumstances with a hopeful, forceful vision.

Copresented with Northwestern University’s Gender & Sexuality Studies program

In Person: Margaret Byrne

As Water Is in Water

Experiments in Form: Cameraless, Hand-Painted and Abstract Films


This screening will showcase cameraless, abstract and handpainted films that resonate formally with the works on view in the Block Museum’s current exhibition, Experiments in Form: Sam Gilliam, Alan Shields, Frank Stella.

Filmmaker-educator Madison Brookshire in attendance to discuss his new work, a Chicago debut.

The Five Bad Elements

The Wandering Eye: Canyon Cinema in the World


Celebrating the 50th anniversary of a legendary distributor of experimental film, this program showcase independent American filmmakers who made films abroad, fusing ethnography, travelogue and creative cinematography.

Ming of Harlem

Ming of Harlem: Twenty One Storeys in the Air


British filmmaker and artist Phillip Warnell’s experimental documentary explores the relationship between man and beast through the example of New Yorker Antoine Yates, who shared his Harlem high-rise apartment with Ming, a 500-pound tiger, and Al, a 7-foot long alligator, for five years.

In Person: Phillip Warnell

A Perfect Image?

Hank Willis Thomas: Different Image


The subversions of commercial imagery in Hank Willis Thomas’s Unbranded series serve as a launching pad for this cinema series featuring films that explore and dismantle socially-imposed images and identities of race, class, gender and sexuality. The series’s title comes from Alile Sharon Larkin’s singular, underseen 1982 film A Different Image, in which a young Black woman confronts sexual objectification in both her environment and in her relationships with friends and coworkers. A mixture of mainstream, independent and experimental cinema, the films in this series share strategies for creating disobedient, self-determined representations.

Do Not Resist

Watching the Detectives


Technological advances have put video cameras in millions of pockets, but the American justice system too often remains opaque to outside scrutiny. Documentary filmmakers take on this challenge in this film series pairing vital recent films with classic and archival works.



A simmering, critically-acclaimed drama that negotiates questions of power, language and labor between German migrant workers and Bulgarian townspeople, featuring an outstanding cast of non-actors.



A town in Tuscany turns their own lives into a yearly theatrical performance and confronts the challenges of change in this moving new documentary.

A Time for Drunken Horses

Life on the Border: The Cinema of Bahman Ghobadi


The Middle East and North African Studies Program & Block Cinema present a series of screenings & discussions with one of Iran’s leading filmmakers, Bahman Ghobadi. This program was made possible by the Iranian American Fund for Cultural Programming.

NU Docs

NU Docs

Northwestern University’s MFA in Documentary Media program is proud to present the thesis films of its second graduating class. Please join us to watch a great selection of new short documentaries, engage in dialogue with the filmmakers, and celebrate their accomplishments.