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Barbican Cinema - April 2023 Highlights

Barbican Cinema
April 2023

       Festivals, Seasons and Special Events:

     Regular Programme strands:

  • Cinema Restored: Losing Ground [35mm] + introduction from
    Dr Terri Francis
  • Family Film Club
  • Senior Community & Relaxed Screenings
  • Pay What You Can Screenings

      Event Cinema:

  • Met Opera Live: Falstaff 
  • Met Opera Live: Der Rosenkavalier 
  • Royal Opera House Live: Cinderella 
  • National Theatre Live: GOOD
  • Met Opera Live: Champion
  • Royal Opera House Live: The Marriage of Figaro

Chronic Youth Film Festival 2023, which is curated by Barbican young programmers (aged between 16-24) returns in April with a selection of short films, feature-length works and documentaries that question what it means to be young today.

Other Festivals taking place this month include the Queer East Film Festival, an LGBTQ+ event that showcases rarely-seen queer cinema from East and South-east Asia; and the opening night film of the London Bengali Film Festival.

As part of The Edge of the Centre programme, the cinema is hosting the second in the series of Stewart Home's Occasional Barbican Film Club in April. Inspired by the names of the Barbican Estate, this time Lauderdale Tower, Stewart Home and special guests will introduce Decoder, a cyberpunk and counter-cultural film based on the writings of William S. Burroughs, who also has a supporting role in the film.

To complement Alice Neel: Hot Off The Griddle in the Barbican Art Gallery, Realism & Reverie: Alice Neel’s New York on Film, includes two films that explore Neel's leftist bohemianism: from the Communist cultural front of the 1930s, to the Beats to queer communities in the 1960s, introduced by Larne Abse Gogarty.

Other highlights in April include Cinema Restored: Losing Ground, introduced by Dr Terri Francis, one of the first feature films to be directed by an African American woman (Kathleen Collins). Screening in a newly restored 35mm print, this is a beautifully crafted drama, focusing on the tension between a university lecturer and her artist husband.

The ever-popular Family Film Club screens the nature documentary Earth: One Amazing Day, from BBC Earth Films, and also includes a shorts programme from the London International Animation Festival. There’s also the regular Senior Community Screening, two Relaxed Screenings per month, and Pay What You Can Screenings for one new release film title each Friday.

Festivals, Seasons and Special Events:

The Edge of the Centre - Stewart Home's Occasional Barbican Film Club: Decoder (15*) + introduction by Stewart Home
West Germany 1984, Dir Muscha, 87 mins
Sat 8 Apr, 3.30 pm, Cinema 1

Decoder blends arresting visuals, urban industrial aesthetics, science fiction, conspiracy theory and documentary footage of street violence, with a searing attack on consumerist culture. Co-starring punk icon Christiane Felscherinow and pandrogeny activist Genesis P. Orridge; the soundtrack also features Soft CellThe The and Einstürzende Neubauten.

Realism & Reverie: Alice Neel’s New York on Film (15) + Introduction by
Larne Abse Gogarty

Pie in the Sky, US 1934, NYKINO 22 mins, SD Digital file
Flaming Creatures, US 1963, Dir Jack Smith, 45 mins (16mm)
Thu 13 Apr, 6.30pm, Cinema 2

These films explore Alice Neel's leftist bohemianism: from the Communist cultural front of the 1930s to the Beats to queer communities in the 1960s. Neel's commitment to realism as a mode to capture suffering, poverty and oppression was marked by a belief that representing those conditions could assist in re-making the world. 

Pie in the Sky 
(1934) involved members of the Group Theater, including Elia Kazan, and captured the dynamic between the reality of the Depression, and daily fantasies of success and pleasure.

Flaming Creatures (1963) is a classic of American queer experimental cinema. Paired together we can begin to picture the social and political landscapes Neel journeyed through in her career.

Larne Abse Gogarty is Lecturer in History and Theory of Art at the Slade School of Fine Art. This event is part of the
public programme for Alice Neel: Hot Off The Griddle in the Barbican Art Gallery, Thu 16 Feb to Sun 21 May.

Chronic Youth Film Festival 2023
21 - 23 Apr, Cinema 2

Curated and produced by Barbican Young Programmers, Chronic Youth Film Festival  

Now in its eighth year, this programme showcases international films – programmed entirely by a group of young people – that encapsulate living in 2022. The Festival is the culmination of seven months of researching, watching, writing, and curatorial work. The full programme will be announced on Wed 8 Mar, for information please go to:

Queer East Film Festival
Tue 25 April – Sun 30 April, Cinema 1 & 2

Showcasing queer cinema from East and Southeast Asia, Queer East Film Festival includes the annual Artists’ Moving Image programme and a rare big screen presentation of the classic Huangmei opera film The Love Eterne (Hong Kong 1963, Dir Li Han-hsiang), based on the Chinese legend of the Butterfly Lovers. The closing night film, to be held at the Barbican is the UK premiere of the poignant documentary Home Ground (South Korea 2022, Dir KWON A-ram), about the founder of South Korea’s first lesbian bar, Lesbos.

For further information:

London Bengali Film Festival Opening Night

Wed 26 April,  Time TBC, Cinema 2

The annual festival celebrating Bengali Cinema from Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal returns to the Barbican. The programme is due to be announced shortly, please go to for further information.

Regular Programme strands:

Cinema Restored: Losing Ground (12) [35mm] with Introduction from
Dr Terri Francis

USA 1982, Dir Kathleen Collins, 85 min

Mon 17 Apr, 6.35 pm, Cinema 2

A masterpiece from the late Kathleen Collins, this is a rare example of a Black independent film depicting the ennui of a Black middle class, focusing on a community of professional well-educated artists. Made all the more poignant by the premature passing of both Kathleen Collins and Bill Gunn (who starred in the film), these are two artists whose short careers were important examples of refusing to be subsumed by the limitations of the film industry at the time, and who both played a role in developing networks for independent Black creative spaces.

The film was restored in 2022 having received a preservation grant from the Film Foundation and the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation which enabled the creation of a new digital master from the original 16mm film, a new 35mm film negative, and a restored 35mm optical soundtrack, which will be showing at this screening. Restored by the Yale Film Archive and The Film Foundation.

Family Film Club
11am every Saturday, Cinema 2

The best in new releases, international gems, archive classics and specially curated programmes for families every Saturday morning.


Big Bad Fox and Other Tales (U) + Flash Film Quiz
France/Belgium 2018, Dirs Patrick Imbert, Benjamin Renner, 73 min

Sat 1 April, Cinema 2, 11 am

A set of three stories from the animators behind Ernest and Celestine, these charming tales follow a set of animals – a fox, a duck, a pig and a rabbit. The witty dialogue, great cast and unique visual style are sure to please the whole family. Featuring the voices of Bill Bailey, Adrian Edmonson, Celia Imrie, Matthew Goode and Phil Jupitus.
Recommended age 5+


The Wizard of Oz (U)
US 1939, Dir Victor Flemming, 102 min
Sat 8 April, 11am, Cinema 2

One of the most sumptuous Technicolour musicals ever committed to film. In Kansas, Dorothy (Judy Garland) and her loyal dog Toto are bracing themselves for a tornado...and wake up in a colourful world of witches, flying monkeys and the yellow brick road.

Recommended age 5+


LIAF Shorts Programme: Little Treasures (U*)
Sat 15 April, 11am, Cinema 2

Dir various, running time: approx 67min

The London International Animation Festival is back with another special screening for younger cinema fans. They’ve been digging around in their archives and have discovered some treasures, there will be talking animals, fun adventures and wondrous tales.

Recommended age 5+


Earth: One Amazing Day (U)
US 2017, Dir Peter Weber, 94min

Sat 22 April, 11 am, Cinema 2

To celebrate Earth Day 2023, Family Film Club is delighted to present this documentary filmed by BBC Earth Films. The action follows a cast of animals across the planet over 24 hours, journeying from the remotest islands, to jungles, all the way to underwater kingdoms.


Free pre-film workshop
Sat 29 April, 10 am, Cinema 2

Come along and get creative before the film with a free workshop led by a professional artist, inspired by the morning’s movie.

The Magician’s Elephant (PG)
US 2023, Dir Wendy Rogers, 100min

Sat 29 Apr, 10 am, Cinema 2

Based on the book by bestselling children’s author, Kate DiCamillo, this beautifully animated fantasy, follows a young boy as he accepts the king’s challenge to perform three impossible tasks in exchange for a magical elephant. With the voice talent of Noah Jupe, Miranda Richardson, Mandy Pantinkin, Brian Tyree Henry and Benedict Wong.

Senior Community Screenings
Every second Mon, 11.45am, Cinema 2

The Barbican welcomes 60+ cinema goers, plus guest to enjoy the latest new releases every second Monday morning. 

For up-to-date programme information:

Relaxed Screenings

One Friday daytime and one Monday evening per month Barbican Cinema welcome cinema goers to an environment that is specially tailored for a neurodiverse audience, as well as those who find a more informal setting beneficial. Ticket are priced at £6.
For up-to-date programme information:


Pay What You Can Screenings

Every Friday one of the new release film screenings is priced Pay What You Can. This is for customers where ticket price may be a barrier, or for those who want to help others enjoy a visit to the cinema; audience members are invited to pay between £3-£15.
For up-to-date programme information:


Event Cinema:

Met Opera Live: Falstaff (12A)
Sat 1 Apr, 5.30 pm, Cinema 1

Baritone Michael Volle stars as the caddish knight Falstaff, gleefully tormented by a trio of clever women who deliver his comeuppance, in Verdi’s glorious Shakespearean comedy. 

Met Opera Live: Der Rosenkavalier (12A)
Sat 15 Apr, 5 pm, Cinema 1

A dream cast assembles for Strauss’s grand Viennese comedy.
Soprano Lise Davidsen is the aristocratic Marschallin, opposite mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard as her lover, Octavian, and soprano Erin Morley as Sophie, the beautiful younger woman who steals his heart.

Royal Opera House Live: Cinderella (12A)
Sun 16 Apr, 2 pm, Cinema 3

After over a decade away from the Royal Opera House stage, Frederick Ashton’s timeless reworking of Charles Perrault’s famous rags-to-riches story returns, showcasing the choreographer’s deft musicality and the beauty of Prokofiev’s transcendent score.

National Theatre Live: GOOD (15)
Thu 20 Apr, 7pm, Cinema 1

David Tenant (Doctor Who) makes a much anticipated return to the West End in a blistering reimagining of one of Britain’s most powerful, political plays.

Met Opera Live: Champion (12A)
Sat 29 Apr, 5.55 pm, Cinema 1

Six-time Grammy Award–winning composer Terence Blanchard brings his first opera to the Met after his Fire Shut Up in My Bones triumphantly premiered with the company to universal  acclaim in 2021.

Royal Opera House Live: The Marriage of Figaro (12A)
Sun 30 Apr, 2 pm, Cinema 3

Director David McVicar brings out the revolutionary elements in Mozart’s great comic opera of intrigue, misunderstanding and forgiveness.