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Barbican Cinema including Cinema On Demand December 2020:

Barbican Cinema including Cinema On Demand December 2020:

Curated by the Barbican

  • Emerging Film Curators: Reframing the Fat Body + virtual pole dancing performance by Roz Mays.
  • Emerging Film Curators: I Still Hide to Smoke + ScreenTalk
  • New East Cinema: The Man Who Surprised Everyone
  • London International Animation Festival: The Best of the Fest

Event Cinema:

  • NT Live: No Man's Land
  • Uncle Vanya
  • Exhibition on Screen: Frida Kahlo
  • NT Live: War Horse
  • Concerto: A Beethoven Journey


  • Family Film Club in the Foyers:
    Wintry Wonderland Films for Families 

In December Barbican Cinema presents the final two events from the first ever Emerging Film Curators’ programme, both sharing perspectives rarely seen on screen. The London International Animation Festival will present The Best of the Fest, and on Cinema On Demand New East Cinema presents and Aleksey Chupov and Natasha Merkulova’s unique interpretation of a Siberian folk tale The Man Who Surprised Everyone. The December Event Cinema programme includes two films from award-winning director Phil Grabsky.

Visitor Safety

In the Barbican cinemas there are fewer available seats and fewer screenings to allow cleaning between shows.

Audiences can only sit in the same seating cluster as someone from their own household (or support bubble) and we ask visitors not swap seats so we can maintain a safe distance between groups. For full information about Visitor Safety see:

Curated by the Barbican

Reframing the Fat Body (15*) + virtual pole dance performance from
Roz Mays - Emerging Film Curators
Sat 5 Dec, 3.00 pm, Cinema 1 

Grace Barber-Plentie presents Reframing the Fat Body, a programme of shorts in which fat bodies are freed from the restraints of modern society and allowed to be fluid, free, sexy and radical.

Featuring films about fat pole dancers, radical collectives and escapes from fat camps, Reframing the Fat Body offers a vision of a fat utopia where larger bodies are accepted and revered. The shorts programme will be followed by a virtual pole dance performance from Roz ‘The Diva’ Mays, who stars in one of the films featured in the programme.

Grace Barber-Plentie comments:

Reframing the Fat Body came from my desire as a fat film programmer to see bodies like my own reflected on screen These shorts show the radical possibilities of having a fat body.

This shorts programme is more timely than ever given the UK government’s recent policy on obesity. Fatness is still just a statistic to many people, rather than a lived experience. I hope that this programme can help to change that and to open people's eyes to what it’s like to live in a fat body. “

I Still Hide to Smoke (15*) + ScreenTalk - Emerging Film Curators
France, Greece, Algeria 2016, Dir Rayhana Obermeyer, 82 min
Tue 8 Dec 8.45 pm, Cinema 1 
This programme will also be available on Barbican Cinema on Demand,,
between 9 – 22 Dec 2020

In this final Emerging Film Curators’ event for 2020, curators Maria Paradinas and Emma Bouraba will present Rayhana Obermeyer’s I Still Hide to Smoke (2016, France /Greece/ Algeria).

Set in a hammam in Algiers, this warm and charming debut feature paints an immersive portrait of intimate confession and strong sisterhood during the Civil War.

Rayhana Obermeyer breaks the silence by centring women’s experiences in Algiers during the Civil War (1991 – 2002), which saw Algerian society being fractured by constant fights between various Islamist fundamentalists groups and the government.

Spanning all classes and generations, the hammam becomes a site where traditional social norms can be challenged.

The event includes a recorded introduction by the director, and a post screening panel discussion exploring the multiple ways in which women challenge oppression during conflict and post-conflict situations.

Maria Paradinas and Emma Bouraba say:

As Cinema curators we’re keen on showcasing marginalised perspectives, specifically women, racialised bodies and queer people. We’re particularly interested in socially and critically engaged film and believe in the power of cinema as a radical communicative tool to challenge mainstream narratives.”

For further programme information:

The Man Who Surprised Everyone (18*)
New East Cinema
Russia 2018, Dirs Aleksey Chupov & Natasha Merkulova, 105 min
Fri 4 Dec – Thu 17 Dec, Barbican Cinema on Demand

A forest ranger cheats death by changing his identity, to the horror of his friends and family, in Natasha Merkulova and Aleksey Chupov’s unique interpretation of a Siberian folk tale.

Egor (Evgeniy Tsyganov), a well-respected father whose wife is pregnant with their second child, discovers he has only two months to live.

He takes desperate inspiration from a Russian folktale and decides to cheat death by taking the guise of a woman, risking losing the love of his family and facing rejection from his community.

Beautiful, powerful and sometimes disturbing, this haunting fantasy, made in a country where traditional gender roles dominate, features a superb performance from Tsyganov and raises potent questions on identity, love and resistance.

This film contains some scenes of violence, including sexual violence that viewers may find disturbing.

Closing Gala - The Best of the Fest (18*)
London International Animation Festival 2020 
Sun 6 Dec 2020, 5.25 pm, Cinema 1

A roundup of LIAF 2020 and the announcement of the best films as chosen by an industry panel and the audience.

Awards are given for the best film in each competition session: Best British Film, Best Sound Design and the overall Best of the Festival film, which will pick up the prize donated by the Elf Factory.

For further programme information LIAF:TheBestofTheFest


Family Film Club in the Foyers:
Wintry Wonderland Films for Families (U*)
Sat 12 Dec 2020, 11 am & 1:30pm , Stalls Floor Foyer

The hugely popular Family Film Club Family continues its residence in the Barbican Foyers with  screenings for children aged 4+ and their families. Bookings for up to six people will be allocated a floor area (BYO cushions) and socially distanced from other groups. All audience members over 12 years old will be required to wear a face covering during the event (unless eating and drinking).

Exploring the fun of the festive season, Wintry Wonderland features magical bears, gingerbread people and accident-prone penguins. Highlights include: The Snow Rabbit (S Korea 2010), Night Fairy-Tale (Russia 2016) and Crispy (Latvia 2014).

LIAF - Amazing Animations (U*)
Fri 27 Nov - Sun 6 Dec 2020, Cinema On Demand

Animation is full of wonder and simple pleasures. London International Animation Festival takes us on a mind-bending ride with 13 of the best, most recent short animated films.

This programme is full of visually dazzling joy from all around the world, including patchwork penguins, an escaped Lynx, birds and whales, witches and babies – and much more.

Event Cinema

NT Live: No Man's Land 
UK 2016, Dirs Sean Mathias & Robin Lough, 170 min
Thu 3 Dec 3 pm, Cinema 1

Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart return to the West End stage in Harold Pinter's No Man's Land.

Two ageing writers, Hirst and Spooner, meet in a Hampstead pub and continue their drinking into the night. As the pair become increasingly inebriated, lively conversation soon turns into a revealing power game.

Uncle Vanya (#)
UK 2020, Dir Ian Rickson, 155 min
Thu 3 Dec 7 pm, Cinema 1

Marrying the intimacy of the screen with the electricity of live performance, an amazing ensemble cast stars in the Sonia Friedman production of Anton Chekov’s classic play Uncle Vanya, starring Aimee Lou Wood as Sonya, Toby Jones as Uncle Vanya, Richard Armitage as doctor Astrov and Roger Allam as Professor Serebryakov and Rosalind Eleazar as his new wife. Nominated for four Olivier Awards, this new adaptation by Conor McPherson and directed by Ian Rickson was filmed this in August. 

Exhibition on Screen: Frida Kahlo (12A)
UK 2020, Dir Ali Ray, 90 min
Sat 12 Dec 2 pm, Cinema 1

Making use of the latest technology to deliver previously unimaginable quality, Frida Kahlo takes an in-depth look at key works throughout her career. Using letters Kahlo wrote as a guide, this film reveals her deepest emotions and unlocks the secrets and symbolism contained within her art.

NT Encore: War Horse
UK 2014, Dirs Marianne Elliott & Tom Morris, 135 min
Sun 13 Dec 2 pm, Cinema 1

Originally broadcast in 2014 War Horse returns to cinema screens for the first-time. Based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo and adapted by Nick Stafford,

War Horse has delighted millions of people around the world on stage since it was first performed at the National Theatre in 2007.

Telling the story of young Albert and his beloved horse Joey who, at the outbreak of World War One, is sold to the Cavalry and shipped to France. At its heart are astonishing life-size puppets by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, who bring breathing, galloping, charging horses to thrilling life on stage.

Concerto: A Beethoven Journey
UK, Czech Republic, Germany, Norway, USA 2015, Dir Phil Grabsky, 93 min
Wed 16 Dec 6pm, Cinema 1

Filmed to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, award-winning director Phil Grabsky follows leading concert pianist Leif Ove Andsnes’s 

attempt to understand and interpret one of the greatest sets of works for piano ever written: Beethoven’s five piano concertos.

Considered one of the top pianists of the age, Leif Ove Andsnes offers rare insights into the mind of a world-class pianist and access to his personal and professional life.

New Releases

Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project (US 2020 Dir Matt Wolf), available on Cinema on Demand until Fri 4 Dec, is a fascinating documentary about Marion Stokes, who secretly recorded television twenty-four hours a day for thirty years.

Also screening is the compelling documentary Love Child (12) (Denmark, 2019 Dir Eva Mulvad), available to stream until Sun 6 Dec. Love Child is a heart-breaking portrait of Leila and Sahand, an Iranian couple who are forced to flee for their lives from Tehran where their secret affair and child born outside of marriage are both considered crimes, punishable by death.

For full details about films on release in Cinema 1 and Cinema On Demand see:

Cinema on Demand is available to audiences across the UK. Titles will remain available for audiences to stream for 48 hours from the time of purchase, and will include closed captions and audio description where available, continuing the Barbican’s commitment to access.

Barbican Cinema on Demand is supported by the BFI FAN Resilience Fund, awarding National Lottery funding, and the Mayor of London's Culture at Risk business support fund.

The Barbican believes in creating space for people and ideas to connect through 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. Donations can be made here:

Barbican Cinema 1 

London International Animation Festival: The Best of the Fest 
Sun 6 Dec 2020, 5:25
Barbican Cinema 1
Standard ticket price: 
£13.50/ Members: £10.80/ Concessions: £12/ Young Barbican: £5

Emerging Film Curators’ Programme:
Reframing the Fat Body (15*)
Sat 5 Dec, 3.00 pm, Cinema 1

I Still Hide to Smoke (15*) + ScreenTalk
Tue 8 Dec 6.15 pm, Cinema 1 
Standard: £12/ Members: £9.60/ Concessions: £11/ Under-18s: £6/ Young Barbican: £5


NT Live: No Man's Land 
Thu 3 Dec 3 pm, Cinema 1
Standard £20, Members £16, Young Barbican £10

Uncle Vanya 
Thu 3 Dec 7 pm, Cinema 1
Standard £20, Members £16, Young Barbican £10

Exhibition on Screen: Frida Kahlo (12A)
Sat 12 Dec 2 pm, Cinema 1
Standard £20, Members £16, Young Barbican £10

NT Live: War Horse
Sun 13 Dec 2 pm, Cinema 1
Standard £20, Members £16, Young Barbican £10

Concerto: A Beethoven Journey
Wed 16 Dec 6 pm, Cinema 1
Standard £12, Members £9.60, Young Barbican £5


LIAF - Amazing Animations
Available to stream: from Fri 27 Nov —Sun 6 Dec 2020
Pay per view: Full: £2.50

Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project (#)
Available to stream: Fri 6 Nov —Fri 4 Dec 2020
Pay per view: Full: £10.00 | Young Barbican: £4.00 | Barbican Members £8.00

Love Child (12)
Available to stream: Fri 6 Nov —Fri 4 Dec 2020
Pay per view: Full: £10.00 | Young Barbican: £4.00 | Barbican Members £8.00

The Man Who Surprised Everyone (18*)
Available to stream: Fri 4 – Thu 17 Dec 2020,
Pay per view: Full: £10.00 | Young Barbican: £4.00 | Barbican Members £8.00