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Block Cinema

Block Auditorium

Block Cinema is dedicated to encounter, exchange, and learning through the art of the moving image.

The Block Museum is home to one of the region’s most innovative cinemas. Through its quarterly screening series “Block Cinema,” the museum explores the global past and present, showcasing film and other time-based media across genres, from classic to experimental.

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 staple of the Block Museum’s exhibition program.

Always free and open to all

Upcoming Screenings

Sep306:30 PM

Outdoor screening of "The Reversal" (Offsite)

A special outdoor audiovisual installation of Jennifer Boles' animated short film THE REVERSAL (2020) will play on a loop at the McCormick Bridgehouse and River Museum for one night only.
Oct21 PM

Ephraim Asili: THE INHERITANCE (2020) - Theatrical Screening

Drawing on Asili’s experiences as a young activist, THE INHERITANCE depicts an intergenerational group of Black radicals embarking on an experiment in communal living in West Philadelphia.
Oct137 PM

Retelling Resistance: CEDDO (1977) - 35mm Theatrical Screening

Few cultural figures can claim the influence of Ousmane Sembène, who revolutionized African film and literature in the twentieth century. CEDDO, perhaps his grandest cinematic work, utilizes fantasy, historical reconstruction, and orality to stage a powerful political allegory that explores the effects of colonialism in Senegal’s past and present.
Oct161 PM

Kelly Reichardt: FIRST COW (2020) - Theatrical Screening

Set among the fur trappers, immigrants, and entrepreneurs of a fledgling Oregon settlement in the 1820s, Kelly Reichardt’s FIRST COW observes the casualties of capitalism through a tender tale of friendship.
Oct277 PM

Retelling Resistance: OUVERTURES (2020) - Theatrical Screening

The Living and the Dead Ensemble, a collective of Haïtian and European artists, performers, and filmmakers, channel the revolutionary legacy of Toussaint L’Ouverture in this bold hybrid of documentary, cinema, and theater.
Oct301 PM

Penny Allen: PROPERTY (1978) - Theatrical Screening

Turning her lens to the eccentric residents of a bohemian neighborhood in Portland, Oregon, Penny Allen delivers an economic critique of urban renewal to warm, satirical effect in this critically under-seen gem of 1970s independent filmmaking. 
Nov37 PM

Retelling Resistance: CUBAN FIGHT AGAINST THE DEMONS (1972) - Theatrical Screening

Celebrated filmmaker Tomás Gutierréz Alea mixes historical record with wild fabulation in this unruly period piece. The film follows Juan Contreras, a landowner in a 17th-century Cuba whose unorthodox ideas and free-spirited lifestyle run afoul of the Church and the Spanish colonial bureaucracy. 
Nov61 PM

First Nations Film and Video Festival: Bawaadan Collective shorts

Block Cinema hosts a program of the First Nations Film and Video Festival, a longstanding Chicago Festival that advocates for the work of contemporary Indigenous-made cinema in its many forms.
Nov131 PM


This debut feature by artist Sky Hopinka (Ho-Chunk/Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians) begins as a work of experimental portraiture, bringing us into the lives of Jordan Mercier and Sweetwater Sahme, two Native residents of the Pacific Northwest.
Nov177 PM


Plains Cree/Scots artist Thirza Cuthand explores queer sexuality, Indigenous identity, and forms of personal and collective crisis in her defiantly DIY videos, performances, and autobiographical writings. Artist will appear in person!
Dec17 PM

NORTH BY CURRENT with filmmaker Angelo Madsen Minax -- Theatrical Screening

Over nearly five years of visits to his hometown of Grayling, Michigan, Minax chronicles his sister’s struggles with motherhood, mourning, and domestic abuse, as well as his own fraught conversations with his Mormon parents around his identity as a trans man.