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Barbican Cinema - February 2020 highlights

Curated by the Barbican:

  • Pather Panchali + Presentation by Sunetra Gupta
  • Oscar® Week 2020
  • My Twisted Valentine: Je t’aime moi non plus
  • Second Sight: Celebrating the UK’s Black Film Workshop Movement
  • London International Animation Festival: Inside the Mind
  • Her Lens, His Story: Female directors and Masculinities
  • Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests Reel #10 + new soundtrack by Leif
  • Family Film Club

     Event Cinema:

  • Met Opera Live: Porgy and Bess
  • Afternoon Arts: In Search of Beethoven
  • Cyrano de Bergerac
  • Exhibition on Screen: Girl with a Pearl Earring
  • Met Opera Live: Agrippina

Curated by the Barbican
Pather Panchali (U) + Presentation by Sunetra Gupta
Science on Screen
India 1955, Dir Satyajit Ray, 125 min
Tue 4 Feb 6.05pm, Cinema 2

Barbican Cinema opens this 2020 series with a classic Indian drama by Satyajit Ray, about an impoverished priest who, dreaming of a better life for himself and his family, leaves his rural Bengal village in search of work.

Sunetra Gupta explores whether globalization is a force for good and discusses her work studying the spread of infectious diseases.
Presented in Partnership with the London Mathematical Laboratory. 

Oscar® Week 2020
Thu 6 – Thu 13 Feb

February is Awards month, so the Barbican is rolling out the red carpet, popping the prosecco and celebrating the biggest films of the year with screenings of films nominated at the 92nd Academy Awards. The programme includes Best Picture nominees, International Feature nominees and many of the short films in competition.

Presented in partnership with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

My Twisted Valentine: Je t’aime moi non plus (18)
France 1976 Dir Serge Gainsbourg 89 min Digital presentation
Fri 14 Feb, 8.45pm, Cinema 3

For Valentine’s Day, an original love story from French musical legend and provocateur Serge Gainsbourg.

In a flyblown, nondescript corner of the US a garbage truck driver, Krassky (Warhol Superstar Joe Dallesandro), pulls up at a remote diner. Behind the counter works the waifish, boyish-looking Johnny (Jane Birkin). The attraction is immediate, but there’s a problem: Krassky is gay and has a horribly volatile boyfriend in tow.

Attacked as immoral and scandalous on first release, Gainsbourg’s film has slowly achieved cult status in the intervening years, but still carries a strong transgressive charge.

Second Sight: celebrating the UK’s Black Film Workshop Movement
Rare archive film and new short film commissions + panel discussion
Tue 18 & Sun 23 Feb 2020, Cinema 2 

The Barbican proudly hosts the premiere screenings of Second Sight, a curated programme of new short film commissions from contemporary artists, and rare archive film, presented by the Independent Cinema Office, in association with LUX. Second Sight explores the legacy, methods, aesthetic strategies and histories of the UK’s Black Film Workshop Movement, a series of radical filmmaking collectives, which sprung up throughout the 1980s, against a backdrop of divisive national politics and civil unrest.

Second Sight: New Commissions 12A*
18 Feb 6.30pm, Cinema 2

The Second Sight new commissions have been created in response to the Workshop context from contemporary artists Ayo Akingbade, Onyeka Igwe (B.O.S.S. Collective), Morgan Quaintance and Rehana Zaman. The screening will be followed by a post-screening discussion with the artists.

Through a series of interpretations the new commission from Ayo Akinbade, Claudette’s Star (2019, 6 mins), depicts young artists considering with sheer wonder who is given a voice. 

In Collective Hum (2019, 7 mins)  Onyeka Igwe (B.O.S.S. Collective) documents a collective in practice through the operation of B.O.S.S using multiple narration, overlapping voices and the sound of group interviews, meetings and events to create a polyphonic score to soundtrack images of the ‘collective bodies, kinaesthetic experience and gestural language’ of sound system culture.

Morgan Quaintance’s South (2019, 28 mins) considers what kind of power is accessible through the discovery of a voice? Looking at personal and communal empowerment through vocal training and liberation movements in London and Chicago, South also explores what happens when speech is ignored, and the voice fades.

Rehana Zaman’s Your Ecstatic Self (2019, 32mins) is a conversation unfolding in a car with Sajid, the artist’s brother.

As the journey progresses Sajid discusses his engagement with the philosophy and practice of Tantra, having spent the majority of his 44 years as a strict Sunni Pakistani Muslim. Placing the idiosyncrasies of western fetishism towards eastern philosophical traditions alongside cultural orthodoxies and ancestral knowledge, Your Ecstatic Self takes up multifaceted expressions of desire, intimacy and sexual agency.

Second Sight: Archive Films 12A*
23 Feb 2pm, Cinema 2

Two key archive films foregrounding the work of women filmmakers at Sankofa and Ceddo film and video workshops. Introduced by Ayo Akingbade (a British Nigerian artist and filmmaker based in London) and Aleema Gray (Community History Curator at the Museum of London and PhD candidate at Warwick University).

Dreaming Rivers (dir. Martina Attille, Sankofa Film and Video, UK, 1988, 30mins) illustrates the spirit of modern families touched by the experience of migration. (Judah Attille), the film evocatively weaves together the ambition-fuelled dreams and memories of Caribbean-born Miss T. and her family.

A ground-breaking documentary, Omega Rising Women of Rastafari (dir. D. Elmina Davis, Ceddo Film and Video Workshop, UK, 1988, 50mins) is the first film on the women of Rastafari. Interviewee’s include Judy Mowatt, reggae solo artist and a member of Bob Marley’s backing trio The I Three, who talk about their relationship to the movement’s development.

Second Sight will tour to nationwide venues including HOME Manchester, Broadway Nottingham, MAC Birmingham, LUX Scotland and Watershed Bristol and is supported by the BFI and Art Council England.

London International Animation Festival: Inside the Mind 15*

Inside Out
Wed 19 Feb 6.30pm, Cinema 2

This is the first instalment in the year round LIAF programme and features curated work from the UK, Ireland, Estonia and the US that explores how artists use animation to explore the concept of an ‘inner life’, and express the otherwise inexpressible.

Highlights include: An Eyeful of Sound (UK 2010 Dir Samantha Moore), a fascinating complex internal world of audio-visual synaesthesia, The Empty Space (Estonia 2016, Dir Ulo Pikkov), a reconstruction of a vision of the anxieties in the 1950s Soviet Union; and Mr Madila or The Colour of Nothing (UK 2015, Dir Rory Waudby-Tolley), a series of conversations between the filmmaker and a gifted spiritual healer, exploring the inner mind, the fabric of the universe, and the nature of reality itself.

Her Lens, His Story: Female directors and Masculinities
25 Feb – 10 Mar, Cinema 1 & 3

This season explores complex, revealing and often provocative takes on men and masculinity, as seen through the lens of female filmmakers around the world.

As the Barbican Art Gallery explores how masculinity has been depicted by artists and photographers over the decades, the Barbican Cinemas present a series of feature films by female directors, including Edith Carlmar, Kinuyo Tanaka,

Larisa Shepitko and Shahrbanoo Sadat, many of which are rarely screened in the UK, that offer interesting and insightful depictions of its male characters.

Her Lens, His Story shows how great female directors have reversed the traditional male gaze to give us exciting and challenging male characters across multiple genres, including film noirs, melodramas, comedies and war movies. 

February screenings include Kinuyo Tanaka’s male melodrama Love Letter (1953, Japan) set in post-war Tokyo; and Ana Kokkinos’s edgy and explosive Head On (1998 Australia), which tests masculinity to the limit, as it follows a young gay Greek Australian man, as he tries to reconcile his sexuality with his Greek Orthodox heritage.

This is part of Inside Out, a year-long Barbican cross arts season exploring the relationship between our inner lives and creativity, and all screenings will have introductions.

For further general information:
To view the full press release:

Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests Reel #10 (U*) + new soundtrack by Leif

Silent Film & Live Music
Thu 27 Feb 7pm, Cinema 1

Barbican Cinema, as part of its regular Silent Film & Live Music series, presents a selection of Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests, the series of short, silent black-and-white film portraits made by Warhol at the Factory between1964-66. Reel #10, which includes Lou Reed, Edie Sedgwick, poet John Ashbery and filmmakers Jonas Mekas and Paul Morrissey will be screened accompanied by a new soundtrack created and performed by Leif

The Screen Tests were conceptualised as cinematic versions of mug shots, ID photos or photo booth photos. The sitters were asked to sit for three minutes – much longer than the exposure time of a photo. Their responses to this ‘ordeal’, and their decisions about how to ‘perform’ themselves for the camera, make these films hugely revealing, as well as riveting viewing. 

The people who sat for the Screen Tests – poets, artists, writers, filmmakers, musicians, dancers, models, celebrities and hangers-on – were part of the New York downtown arts scene during a watershed period. Collectively then, the Screen Tests can be read as a group portrait of this scene, as well as an oblique portrait of Warhol himself, delineating his network of connections and associations, his range of interests.

Leif is a UK-based DJ and producer, author of over 20 EPs and three acclaimed albums, most recently appearing on labels such as Whities, Livity Sound and Idle Hands.

This is part of Inside Out, a year-long Barbican cross arts season exploring the relationship between our inner lives and creativity.

Family Film Club
Every Saturday 11am, Cinema 2

A Miniscule Adventure (U) + Show and Tell Introduction
France 2018, Dir Hélène Giraud, Thomas Szabo, 92 min
11am Sat 1 Feb, Cinema 2

A charming French animation about a young ladybird who is accidentally sent to the Caribbean, and whose father journeys across the ocean to rescue him.
Recommended age 4+

Toy Story 4 (U)
US 2019, Dir Josh Cooley, 97 min
11am Sat 8 Feb, Cinema 2

Woody, Buzz and the gang are back and out to save Bonnie’s new home-made ‘Forky’ toy – a spork who just wants to jump into the rubbish!

Showing as Part of Barbican’s Oscars Week.

Recommended age 5+

Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon (U)
UK 2018, Dir Will Becher & Richard Phelan, 87 min
11am Sat 15 Feb, Cinema 2

Shaun is back. When a toddler Alien – Lu-La – accidentally crash lands near Mossy Bottom Farm, Shaun must figure out how to get her home.
Recommended age 3+

London International Animation Film Festival – Amazing Animations (U*)
11am Sat 22 Feb, Cinema 2

Following on from sell out shows throughout the Autumn, LIAF have returned with another of their carefully curated shorts programmes designed for younger viewers.

Dir Various. Runtime approx. 70 min
Recommended age 4+

My Neighbour Totoro (U)
Japan 1988 Dir Hayao Miyazaki 86 min (dubbed)
11am, Cinema 2

Back by popular demand after an Autumn sell out, this Miyazaki classic - about two young girls who move to the countryside and find an ancient magical creature living in their backyard – returns to the Barbican screen. 

This screening is accompanied by a workshop in Cinema 2&3 Foyer
Sat 29 Feb, 10 am, Cinema 2
Barbican Cinema’s free home design workshop, inspired by the children’s film My Neighbour Totoro (Japan 1998). Open to all children and their families.

Event Cinema

Porgy and Bess (12A*)
Met Opera Live
Sat 1 Feb 5.55pm, Cinema 1

The Gershwins’ modern American masterpiece has its first Met performances in almost three decades, starring bass-baritone Eric Owens and soprano Angel Blue in the title roles.

In Search of Beethoven (U)
Afternoon Arts
Thu 13 Feb 2pm, Cinema 2

A comprehensive and dynamic account of the life and works of the great composer. This film delves beneath the mythical image of the tortured genius to search for the real Ludwig van Beethoven.

Cyrano de Bergerac (15)
NT Live
Thu 20 Feb 7pm, Cinema 1

James McAvoy returns to the stage in this brilliant new adaptation. This classic play is brought to life with linguistic ingenuity to celebrate Cyrano’s powerful and resonant resistance against overwhelming odds.

Exhibition on Screen: Girl with a Pearl Earring (U)
Afternoon Arts
Thu 27 Feb 2pm, Cinema 2

This beautifully filmed documentary pursues the many unresolved riddles surrounding the extraordinary painting and its mysterious creator. Who was this girl? Why and how was it painted? Why is it so revered?

Agrippina (12A)
Met Opera Live
Sat 29 Feb 5.55pm, Cinema 1

Joyce DiDonato leads as the imperious empress in the Met’s first-ever performance of this tale of deception. Harry Bicket conducts Sir David McVicar’s new production, giving this Baroque black comedy a politically-charged, modern update.

New Releases:
Please note this programme is subject to change:

South Korea 2019, Dir Bong Joon Ho, 132 min
From Fri 7 Feb
Boon Jong-Ho’s Palme d’Or winning film is a must-see. Full of suspense, this dark comedy is a complex mix of genres which will leave you unsettled but captivated.

First Love #
Japan 2019, Dir Takashi Miike, 108 min
From Fri 14 Feb
One night in Tokyo, a self-confident young boxer and a prostitute get caught up in a drugs smuggling plot involving organized crime, corrupt cops and a female assassin.

Midnight Family #
Mexico 2020, Dir Luke Lorentzen, 82 min
From Fri 21 Feb
This documentary follows the Ochoa family, who run a private ambulance service in Mexico City. This offers an enthralling and disquieting glimpse of healthcare in modern Mexico.

Dark Waters #
USA 2019, Dir Todd Haynes, 126 min
From Fri 28 Feb
Starring Mark Ruffalo, this drama follows an attorney who uncovers a dark secret that connects a growing number of unexplained deaths to one of the world's largest corporations.

Emma #
UK 2020, Dir Autumn de Wilde, 98 min
From Fri 14 Feb
Anya Taylor-Joy stars in the title role of this whimsical take on the classic Jane Austen tale. Co-starring Bill Nighy, Josh O’Connor and Miranda Hart, this is sure to brighten your February.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (15)
France 2020, Dir Céline Sciamma, 121 min
From Fri 28 Feb
A fraught tale of forbidden love from acclaimed director Céline Sciamma (Girlhood) and winner of the Best Screenplay and Queer Palm awards at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.