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Barbican Cinema: December 2022 

Curated by the Barbican:

  • Emerging Film Curators: Rolling in the Deep: Mer-Creatures and Mythology in Global Cinema
  • A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story
  • Ogmios School of Zen Motoring + ScreenTalk
  • Science on Screen: Zulu + Presentation by Joseph Yose
  • Filmfarsi + ScreenTalk with Ehsan Khoshbakht and Soheila Sokhanvari
  • London + ScreenTalk with Patrick Keiller and Owen Hatherley
  • Family Film Club
  • Senior Community Screening: A Bunch of Amateurs + Introduction + Q&A with Nuala O’Sullivan

Event Cinema:

  • MET Opera: The Hours
  • Royal Opera House: The Nutcracker


  • London International Animation Festival: The Best of the Fest

Barbican Cinema begins December with Rolling in the Deep: Mer-Creatures and Mythology in Global Cinema, the first screening from this year’s Emerging Film Curators’ Lab, a career development programme which gives young people a chance to establish themselves in the UK cinema exhibition sector. This event will also include a live poetry reading and a Q&A with some of the filmmakers.

This programme invites the audience to descend into an underwater world with a collection of short films
– from the UK, Philippines, Ghana and Italy – that explore the figure of the mermaid and mythology’s importance in strengthening community.

As Christmas approaches cinema goers can also enjoy festive screenings of
A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story, starring Mark Gattis in a retelling of this Dickens’ classic winter story; and a live screening of Royal Opera House: The Nutcracker, an enchanting ballet which remains a perennial festive favourite.

Filmfarsi and ScreenTalk (with filmmaker) Ehsan Khoshbakht and (artist) Soheila Sokhanvari explores the history of popular pre-revolutionary Iranian cinema, and screens to coincide with Soheila Sokhanvari: Rebel in the Curve Gallery.

Further December highlights include Ogmios School of Zen Motoring and ScreenTalk, which includes: a live performance from Ogmios, the cult BBC3 comedy sensation, a premiere of a new episode and a ScreenTalk; and coinciding with the 30-year anniversary of its filming there’s a screening of London and ScreenTalk with Patrick Keiller and Owen Hatherley.

Science on Screen in December presents the classic historical drama Zulu, with a presentation by scholar Joseph Yose, who illustrates how network science can help us determine the authenticity of historical narratives.

The Senior Community Screening this month is A Bunch of Amateurs with an introduction and Q&A with Women Over Fifty Film Festival Director Nuala O’Sullivan; and Family Film Club has a Yuletide theme with screenings of the CBeebies pantomime: Dick Whittington and His Cat and A Wintry Wonderland Shorts Programme.

Further Event Cinema screenings include: MET Opera: The Hours in this world-premiere production adapted from Michael Cunningham’s novel; and the London International Animation Festival celebrates The Best of the Fest of this year’s programme.

Curated by the Barbican:

Rolling in the Deep: Mer-Creatures and Mythology in Global Cinema (15)
Emerging Film Curators
Thu 1 Dec 6.20pm, Cinema 1

The first Emerging Film Curators’ Lab screening takes place and is curated by Charlie Clark and Anna Keeley and centres the mer-creature to explore themes of Afrofuturism, deep-sea diving, imperial systems of power, storytelling, and gender fluidity,

Across the world, mermaids and their co-species appear in films imagining life beyond capitalist, colonial and patriarchal systems. This event descends into underwater worlds in this programme of shorts exploring the mer-figure in politically-grounded ways. 

Rolling in the Deep presents a screening of experimental, documentary and fiction short films; from a Filipino fishing village to Detroit’s underground techno scene. The event will include a live poetry reading, an hour-long film screening and a Q&A with some of the filmmakers. There will also be short breaks during the screening accompanied by water-based visuals, to give audiences a chance to move or reflect.

The programme will be accompanied by a feature-length documentary by Mexican director Luis Rincón available online via the Barbican Cinema on Demand. 

Please note the poetry reading and Q&A will be live-captioned and the films will have HOH captions. 

A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story

Sun 4 Dec, 2 pm, Cinema 3

Mark Gatiss stars as Jacob Marley in his own ‘Irresistibly theatrical’ retelling of Dickens’ classic winter ghost story, A Christmas Carol, alongside Nicholas Farrell as Scrooge. It’s a cold Christmas Eve and mean-spirited miser Ebenezer Scrooge (Farrell) has an unexpected visit from the spirit of his former business partner Jacob Marley (Gatiss).

Bound in chains as punishment for a lifetime of greed, the unearthly figure explains it isn’t too late for Scrooge to change his miserly ways in order to escape the same fate, but first he’ll have to face three more eerie encounters...

Ogmios School of Zen Motoring (12) + ScreenTalk

Tue 6 Dec, 6.30 pm, Cinema 1

Barbican Cinema is pleased to host a relaxing evening with Ogmios and his School of Zen Motoring, featuring a live performance from Ogmios and the premiere of a new episode and a ScreenTalk.

Audience members can enjoy a passenger seat in Ogmios's old Corsa as he softly narrates a journey over carefully curated dashcam footage in a guided meditation through the streets of North London.

Originally developed on YouTube before finding its way onto the BBC, Ogmios School of Zen Motoring centres around Ogmios's observations and interactions with pedestrians, other motorists, cyclists, pigeons and ‘scooter boys’ as he playfully tries to maintain an inner calm amidst the uncertainty of the road. The films combine psycho-geography, battle rap and ASMR to create a unique experience which is at times poignant, funny and reflective.

Science on Screen: Zulu (PG) + Presentation by Joseph Yose
UK 1964, Dir Cy Endfield, 138 min
Wed 7 Dec, 6.30pm, Cinema 2

Set in Zululand, South Africa, 1879. This BAFTA nominated historical drama follows a group of outnumbered British soldiers as they do battle with Zulu warriors.

Before the screening scholar Joseph Yose discusses how network science can help us determine the authenticity of historical narratives.

Network science studies the connections between different constituents of a system and can be used to help understand human interactions in social networks such as Facebook. In this presentation, Yose will use the scientific tools of network analysis to reveal the structure of character interactions in the story of Shaku Zulu. Joseph Yose will explore the authenticity of narrative as it ishanded down from generation to generation

Filmfarsi (12) + ScreenTalk with Ehsan Khoshbakht and Soheila Sokhanvari
Iran/ UK 2020, Dir Ehsan Khoshbakht, 84 min
Thu 8 Dec 6.30pm, Cinema 2  

Filmfarsi, refers to popular genre films coming out of Iran, which were characterised by music, sex, violence and dancing, merging elements of Hollywood, for localised audiences and tastes. The films capture an attempt at modernisation, which would be cut short through the increase in censorship, and celebrate the sleazy, the cheap, the vulgar.

In the ScreenTalk director Khoshbakht and artist Soheila Sokhanvari will discuss the inclusion of film farsi footage in her exhibition Rebel in the Barbican’s Curve Galley, and the loss of much of the footage which was destroyed amidst the crackdown during the revolution.

London (PG) + ScreenTalk with Patrick Keiller and Owen Hatherley
UK 1994, Dir Patrick Keiller, 85 min
Sun 11 Dec, 3pm, Cinema 1

Coinciding with the 30th anniversary of its filming, this special event celebrates 
London and hosts director Patrick Keiller who will be in conversation with writer Owen Hatherley
In 1992 artist Patrick Keiller would begin work on London, the first of his famed Robinson trilogy.

Revisiting the film after 30 years provides an opportunity to reflect on its relevance and to think through the myriad of changes the city has gone through in this period, as well as tracing the many ways in which Keiller’s portrayal still resonates as the curious circularities of history recur and continue to impact the experiences of the present.

Family Film Club

CBeebies: Dick Whittington and His Cat (U)

Sat 3 Dec 11am, Cinema 2
Sun 4 Dec 11.15am & Sun 11 Dec 11.15am, Cinema 3
Runtime approx. 60min

The ever-popular CBeebies panto is back on stage for 2022, recorded in front of a live audience at Eastbourne’s Congress Theatre – with exclusive content provided for these cinema screenings – and the show will feature a host of familiar CBeebies faces.

The audience will join the cast as they travel to London for the Lord Mayor’s Christmas parade, only to discover a trio of cheeky rats are intent on ruining everyone’s fun.

Family Film Club: A Wintry Wonderland Shorts Programme (U*)
Sat 10 Dec, Cinema 2
Dir various, Runtime approx. 60min

This is a selection of international short films that delight in the joys of winter, featuring snowy landscapes and end of year traditions. 

Subtitles for films will be read aloud for children via headsets. Headsets allocated first come, first served.

Senior Community Screenings: A Bunch of Amateurs (12A) + Introduction + Split + Q&A

UK 2022, Dir Kim Hopkins, 95 min
Mon 12 Dec, 11:45 am, Cinema 2

In A Bunch of Amateurs one of the oldest amateur film clubs in the world is teetering on the brink of survival.

Desperately clinging to their dreams, and to each other, this amusing and moving portrait of artistic folly speaks to the delusional escapist dreamer in us all.

Women Over Fifty Film Festival Director Nuala O’Sullivan will be on stage to introduce the short film Split and share her journey setting up the festival. Nuala will be joined by Split’s director, Clare Holman (Lewis, Mores, Sherwood, The Little Drummer Girl) after the main feature for a Q&A.

Event Cinema:

MET Opera: The Hours
Sat 10 Dec, 5.55pm, Cinema 1

Soprano Renée Fleming makes her anticipated return to the Met in the world-premiere production of Pulitzer Prize–winning composer Kevin Puts’s The Hours, adapted from Michael Cunningham’s novel. 

Inspired by Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway and made a household name by the Oscar-winning 2002 film version, this powerful story follows three women from different eras who each grapple with their inner demons and their roles in society. The exciting premiere radiates with star power, with soprano Kelli O’Hara and mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato joining Fleming as the opera’s trio of heroines. 

Phelim McDermott directs this compelling drama, with Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin on the podium to conduct Puts’s poignant and powerful score. 

Royal Opera House: The Nutcracker
Sun 11 Dec 2pm, Cinema 3

Live on screen, an enchanting ballet which is a sparkling festive treat for the whole family. Join Clara at a delightful Christmas Eve party that becomes a magical adventure once everyone else is tucked up in bed.

Peter Wright’s much-loved production for The Royal Ballet, with gorgeous period designs by Julia Trevelyan Oman, keeps true to the spirit of this festive ballet classic, combining the thrill of the fairy tale with spectacular classical dancing.


London International Animation Festival:
The Best of the Fest (15*)
Sun 4 Dec 2022, 5.45 pm, Cinema 1

LIAF’s Best of the Fest brings the curtain down on the 2022 programme. The films have been selected by several panels of industry experts and audience votes. 

Awards are given for the ‘Best film of the Festival’, ‘Best British Film’, ‘Best Sound’, ‘Best Children's Film’, ‘Best Abstract film’ and ‘Best Late Night Bizarre film’.

For further information:

London International Animation Festival

Encore: The Best of the Fest (15)
Sun 4 Dec 2022, 8.15 pm, Cinema 2

The Barbican believes in creating space for people and ideas to connect though its international arts programme, community events and learning activity. To keep its programme accessible to everyone, and to keep investing in the artists it works with, the Barbican needs to raise more than 60% of its income through ticket sales, commercial activities and fundraising every year.
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