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The Whitsell Auditorium and the Northwest Film Center Equipment Room are closed to the public in an effort to further stem the spread of COVID-19. All classes canceled until further notice. Stay connected to art, film, and more by signing up for our newsletter.

Directed by John Hanson, Rob Nilsson

United States 1978 95 mins. In English

One of the landmarks of American independent film, NORTHERN LIGHTS won the Caméra d’Or (best-directed first feature) at the Cannes Film Festival. An old man (played by 94-year-old Henry Martinson, an actual participant in the dramatized events) turns the pages of a brittle diary, and we’re back in the winter of 1915, as Robert Behling crisscrosses a bleak North Dakota in his Model T to drum up support for the Nonpartisan League against the trust-held grain elevators, trains, and banks that constantly threaten foreclosure. Shot on the proverbial shoestring in temperatures that hit 40 below, with a cast largely of non-professional locals and North Dakotans, apart from Behling, onscreen fiancée Susan Lynch, and pesky friend Joe Spano.

Genres: Drama



The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.