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Barbican Cinema including Cinema On Demand November 2020:

Curated by the Barbican

  • Doc’n Roll Film Festival
  • Science on Screen: The Conformist + Skype Presentation by Professor Branko Milanovic
  • Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest
  • London Palestine Film Festival
  • EFG London Jazz Festival Screenings
  • London International Animation Festival

Event Cinema:

  • Uncle Vanya
  • Idiot Prayer: Nick Cave Alone at Alexandra Palace
  • NT Encore: War Horse
  • Exhibition on Screen: Frida Kahlo
  • NT Encore: Present Laughter

Family Films in the Foyers

New Releases:
In My Blood It Runs + The Human Voice

Barbican Cinema continues to expand its programme throughout November with a wealth of international films and festivals across Cinema 1, in the Barbican Theatre, in the Foyers and on Cinema on Demand.

The bumper crop of festivals includes Doc’n Roll Festival, Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest, the London Palestine Film Festival, and the London International Animation Festival. A screening of James Erskine’s Billie will complement the EFG Jazz Festival.

November also sees the return of Family Film Club screenings taking place on selected Saturday mornings in the Barbican Foyers, as well as on Cinema On Demand.

Visitor Safety

In a recent survey, 98% of Barbican visitors said they felt safe or very safe in the Barbican venues. 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

Doc’n Roll Film Festival:
5–15 Nov, Cinema 1, Barbican Theatre and Cinema On Demand

Doc’n Roll London returns for its seventh edition, with a hybrid mix of cinema and online screenings for documentaries on a multitude of music-makers, genres, stories and scenes.

From work by first-time directors to filmmaking veterans, a diverse and dazzling line up takes viewers around the globe. 

This year’s programme explores experimental electronica, the creative worlds of Parisian pop auteur Sébastian Tellier, Lebanese violinist Ara Malikian, the fearless soundscapes of avant-garde female pioneers, the quest for elusive rockers Talk Talk and the extraordinary jazz drumming of Paul Motian

The Sound Is Innocent (PG*) + ScreenTalk

Dir. Johana Ožvold, Czech Republic/France/Slovakia 2019, 68 min, London Prem
Fri 6 Nov, 6.10pm, Cinema 1

Johana Ožvold’s dynamic and unusual documentary shines new light on some of the fundamental questions of musical creation, tracing the relationship between both man and machine, and artist and instrument. Seminal voices working in the fields of experimental and electronic music, including François Bonnet (aka Kassel Jaeger), Steve Goodman (aka Kode9), Julian Rohrhuber and  Alberto De Campo provide unique, personal perspectives on the radical periods of sonic invention that have transformed art, culture and even public life.

In a Silent Way (12A*) + ScreenTalk

Dir. Gwenaël Breës, Belgium, 2020, 90 min, UK Prem
Sat 7 Nov, 3pm, Cinema 1

Thirty years after the release of Talk Talk’s fourth album Spirit of Eden, superfan of the 1980s British art-rock band - Belgian director Gwenaël Breës - found himself travelling the country in an attempt to unravel the mystery surrounding the record.

The problem? Up to his death in 2019 lead singer Mark Hollis notoriously declined all interview requests and the rest of the band has followed suit, refusing to allow their music to be used on film. Armed with a boom mic, Breës must attempt the impossible - to make a film about a band that does not want to be filmed, and tell the story of the ultimate art rock album without playing the record.

Sébastien Tellier: Many Lives (12A*) + live virtual ScreenTalk with producer Deborah Chiarella

Dir. Francois Valenza, France, 2020, 80 min, UK Premiere
Sun 8 Nov, 5.30pm, Cinema 1

Many Lives presents the endless metamorphoses of Paris' peerless pop/electronica auteur, Sébastien Tellier, through creation, reinvention, seductive soundtracks, Eurovision mischief and jet-set scenes

Francois Valenza’s documentary follows the highlights of the French singer/composer's two-decade career, including his opening slot on Air’s 2001 world tour and his runway performance for Chanel, during Paris Fashion Week, in 2014. 

Motian in Motion (PG*) + virtual ScreenTalk with Bill Frisell, Joe Lovano, and director Michael Kelly
Dir. Michael Kelly, USA, 2020, 86 min, UK Prem
Thur 12 Nov, 5.55pm, Cinema 1

A tribute to jazz drummer Paul Motian including footage of the artist filmed by director Michael Patrick Kelly at various venues and recording sessions and in Central Park before his death from a rare form of blood cancer in 2011.

In 2015, Kelly began interviewing and re-interviewing the many musicians Paul Motian collaborated with, including Bill Frisell, Joe Lovano, Carla Bley, Chick Corea, Gary Peacock, Chris Potter and many others.

Sister With Transistors (PG*) + live ScreenTalk with director Lisa Rovner + performance by Marta Salogni

Dir. Lisa Rovner, 2020, UK, 82 min, London Premiere
Sat 14 Nov, 3pm, Barbican Theatre

Sisters With Transistors is the remarkable story of electronic music’s female pioneers who embraced machines and their liberating technologies to utterly transform how we produce and listen to music today.

More than just the history of a music genre, it's the story of how we hear and the critical but little-known role female pioneers play in that story.

The screening will begin with Music for Open Spaces: Tape Machines, a live performance by musician Marta Salogni. 

Ara Malikian (U*): A Life Among Strings
Dir Nata Moreno, Spain 2019, 88 min
9-15 Nov, Cinema On Demand

Music saved the life of Ara Malikian, a multifaceted violinist of Lebanese origin and Armenian roots who left Beirut when he was 14 and has lived a nomadic life since, bringing his music to the world. 

For further information:

The Conformist (15) + Skype Presentation by
Professor Branko Milanovic

Science on Screen

Dir Bernardo Bertolucci, Italy/ France/ West Germany 1971, 108min
Tue 10 Nov, 6.00pm, Cinema 1

Bertolucci’s masterpiece follows a would-be fascist sent to Paris to murder a political dissident. Before the film leading scholar on income equality Professor Branko Milanovic (Centennial Professor at LSE), explores the way the film illuminates how we often unquestioningly accept the social values of our society.

Presented in partnership with the London Mathematical Laboratory

Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest
10-15 Nov, Cinema 1 and Cinema on Demand

Fringe! returns with bold new queer cinema and exciting contemporary titles. The community film festival commemorates ten years celebrating the best LGBTIQA+ stories from global and local filmmakers, with a hybrid mix of cinema and online screenings.

Now in its tenth year, Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest has grown from a small community response to arts cuts into an ambitious and forward-thinking organisation. This year the slate continues to showcase cinematic brilliance and necessary perspectives.

Making Sweet Tea (12A*) + virtual ScreenTalk
Dirs John L Jackson, Jr & Nora Gross, US 2019, 90 min

Wed 11 Nov, 5.50pm, Cinema 1
10-15 Nov, Cinema on Demand

E Patrick Johnson's oral history of gay Black men in the South, Sweet Tea, was based on the memories and perspectives of six friends. This is the story of how his research became a play, and what it meant to capture a community at the cultural heart of our wider movement. 

If It Were Love (15*) + virtual ScreenTalk
Dir Patric Chiha, France 2020, 82 min
Thu 12 Nov, 8.45pm, Cinema 1
10-15 Nov, Cinema on Demand

Patric Chiha’s award winning documentary about the making of choreographer Gisèle Vienne’s Crowd is an enthralling neon-lit ride of performance and expressions of queer sexuality.  

In staged conversations the dancers reveal their crushes and desires, building a web of complex emotions that add new dimensions to the dance.

Cocoon (15*) + virtual ScreenTalk
Dir Leonnie Krippendorf, Germany 2020, 95 min
Wed 11 Nov, 5.50pm, Cinema 1
13-15 Nov, Cinema on Demand

In a sun-drenched Berlin summer, 14 year old tag-along Nora watches the older boys and girls and the ways they interact, blinded by the shimmering buzz.

But when she meets 18 year-old Romy, she sees a different way: an opportunity to grow into something more beautiful and more natural to her. In Romy she sees a chance to live life, rather than stand in the shadows. 

For further information:

London Palestine Film Festival
13–26 Nov, Cinema 1, Theatre and Cinema on Demand

The annual London Palestine Film Festival returns to the Barbican with a programme of films and discussions to encourage crucial dialogue about Palestinian cinema and culture.

London Palestine Film Festival 2020 offers a programme of cinema screenings and online streams of the latest works exploring Palestine. This year’s selection brings an array of feature dramas, documentaries and artist moving image.

It is a strong year for UK premieres from Palestine’s most dynamic filmmakers. These include Najwa Najjar’s latest romantic drama about divorce, and Kamal Aljafari’s unprecedented use of the surveillance camera as documentary cinema. These sit alongside intricate investigative works by artists Emily Jacir and Forensic Architecture.

An Unusual Summer (12A)
Germany/Palestine 2020 Dir Kamal Aljafari 80 min
Fri 13 Nov 8.45pm, Cinema 1 

Following an act of vandalism, the filmmaker's father installs a camera to record the scenes unfolding in front of the family house.

Everyday life, neighbours going to work, sisters gossiping; surveillance footage captures the poetic rhythm of life. Aljafari creates a mechanical diary that scrolls along the screen, presenting the audience with a personal and eminently political fresco.

Gaza Mon Amour (U*)
Palestine/France/Germany/Portugal/Qatar 2020 Dirs Tarzan & Arab Nasser 85 min
Sun 15 Nov 2pm, Cinema 1 and Barbican Cinema on Demand  

Sixty-year-old fisherman Issa (Salim Daw) is secretly in love with Siham (Hiam Abbass), a dressmaker at the market. Finally determined to propose, he discovers an ancient statue of Apollo in his fishing net, which he hides in his home. When Hamas discovers the existence of this mysterious, and invaluable, treasure, troubles begin for Issa. 

This fictional film combines the sweet universal sentiments of love, with the strange, yet true, story of the Apollo statue lifted from the Gazan sea. 

200 Metres (U)
Palestine/Italy/Sweden 2020 Dir Ameen Nayfeh 93 min
Sat 21 Nov 3pm Barbican Theatre and Barbican Cinema on Demand

Up-and-coming filmmaker Ameen Nayfeh’s first-feature presents the life-threatening absurdities of life along the infamous wall in this feel-good drama that offers a perfect balance of family warmth and political tension.

Mustafa and his wife Salwa live 200 meters apart in villages separated by the wall.

One day he gets the call every parent dreads: his son has had an accident. Rushing to cross the Israeli checkpoint, Mustafa is denied on a technicality. But a fathers love won't give up and he will do anything to reach his son.

Between Heaven and Earth (PG)
Palestine/Iceland/Luxembourg 2020 Dir Najwa Najjar 95 min
Sun 22 Nov 3pm, Barbican Theatre

Salma and Tamer are trying to get a divorce. But as they are filing for it, missing documents lead to a staggering discovery about Tamer’s father secret love affair with an Iraqi Jewish woman in the 1950’s.

With this, Salma and Tamer are sent spinning on an emotional road trip exploring loss and betrayal wrapped in this secret past.

As the story unfolds the relationships exposes a time when religion was not an issue and love could survive a destroyed landscape. A time in this war-torn country when love and hope was not so complicated, and dividing lines were more diffused. 

Letter to a Friend (Palestine/US 2019 Dir Emily Jacir, 43 min) + Triple Chaser (12A) (US/UK 2019, Dir Laura Poitras, 11 min)
13-26 Nov, Cinema on Demand

This double bill brings together two investigative videos by artists looking into the sale and effect of tear gas in Palestine and globally.

In Letter to a Friend, artist Emily Jacir writes to Eyal after a military situation leaves her street strewn with empty canisters of Triple Chaser, a particularly destructive type of tear gas. She intimately recounts the street’s history and her family’s past. Interlacing images, textures, and sounds from over a century, Jacir unravels layers of Bethlehem, and the constant threat it lives under.

In response to their invitation to the 2019 Whitney Biennial and the controversy of Warren Kanders’ then association with the institution, Forensic Architecture teamed with Academy Award winning Laura Poitras to make Triple Chaser. A combination of data-visualization and documentary filmmaking shows how tear gas and bullets made by companies that belonged to Kanders have been used against civilians to suppress anti-authoritarian movements.

Western Arabs (15)
Netherlands/Denmark 2019 Dir Omar Shargawi 77 min
13-26 Nov, Cinema on Demand

Made over a period of 12 years, Western Arabs is a powerful film that documents Omar Shargawi’s attempt at understanding his family.

Omar’s father, Munir, was forced to flee his hometown of Haifa as young boy. And now, with his Danish wife, he has three sons. The trauma of political upheaval never left him and is passing on to the next generation.

1982 (12A)
Lebanon/USA/Norway/Qatar 2019 Dir Oualid Mouaness 100 min
13-26 Nov, Cinema on Demand

On the last day of school in June 1982, 11-year-old Wissam wants to tell his crush Joanna that he loves her.

Starring actress and Oscar-nominated director Nadine Labaki as Yasmine, 1982 is a semi-autobiographical first feature by Lebanese director Oualid Mouaness that brings us the story of looming war through the innocent eyes of a child in love for the first time.

For further programme information:

EFG London Jazz Festival
15 Nov, Barbican Theatre

Billie (15*) plus ScreenTalk with James Erskine
Dir. James Erskine, UK 2019, 98min
Sun 15 Nov, 3pm Barbican Theatre

A newly-unearthed treasure trove of audio interviews about Billie Holiday form the basis of this new documentary profile of the great jazz singer.

James Erskine’s new documentary combines archive and performance footage and stills with never previously heard first-hand accounts from Billie Holiday’s friends, relatives, fellow musicians (including Count Basie and Sylvia Sims), and even the arresting officer on one of her drug busts, and the pimp who pressed her into prostitution as a young girl. These newly found interviews from the 1970s were originally gathered for a planned biography which was shelved after the author’s early death.

For further information:

London International Animation Festival
27 Nov – 6 Dec, Cinema 1

The UK’s largest animation festival is back with the best shorts and features, including international showcases, children’s screenings and the ever-popular ‘The Best of the Fest’. The programme includes:

British Showcase competition screening (15*)
Sat Nov 28, 6pm, Barbican Cinema 1

A comprehensive screening of the very best recently released British animation, including several UK and world premieres.

Circumstantial Pleasures (15*)
USA 2012, Dir: Lewis Klahr, 68min / UK Premiere
Sun 29 Nov, 5 pm, Barbican Cinema 1

An animated feature which contemplates capitalism, its systems of distribution and ecological consequences.

Kill it and Leave This Town’ (18*)
Poland 2020 Dir: Mariusz Wilczynski 88min / UK Premiere
Mon 30 Nov, 6.10 pm, Barbican Cinema 1

Veteran animator Mariusz Wilczynski presents a deeply personal look at his own life and that of his parents. Winner Best feature film at Ottawa International Animation Festival.

Closing Gala - The Best of the Fest  (18*)
Sun 6 Dec, 5.45 pm, Barbican Cinema 1

The Festival presents a roundup of LIAF 2020 and will announce the best films as chosen by an industry panel and the audience.

For further information:

Event Cinema

Uncle Vanya (#)
Sun 1 Nov, Cinema 1, 2pm

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. 

Idiot Prayer: Nick Cave Alone at Alexandra Palace (#)
Dir Nick Cave, Robbie Ryan, UK 2020 100min
Thu 5 Nov 7pm, Cinema 1

This screening sees Nick Cave play his songs at the piano in a rarely seen stripped back form, from early material, right through to the most recent Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds album.

NT Encore: War Horse (#)
Tue 17 Nov, Cinema 1, 7pm

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. This will be the first time since its original broadcast in 2014 that War Horse will be able to be viewed on cinema screens. 

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.

Exhibition on Screen: Frida Kahlo (12A)
Wed 18 Nov, Cinema 1, 6pm

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: Present Laughter (12A) TBC
Sat 21 Nov, Cinema 1, 2pm

Matthew Warchus directs Andrew Scott (BBC’s Sherlock, Fleabag) in Noël Coward’s provocative comedy Present Laughter.

As he prepares to embark on an overseas tour, star actor Garry Essendine’s colourful life is in danger of spiralling out of control. Engulfed by an escalating identity crisis as his many and various relationships compete for his attention, Garry’s few remaining days at home are a chaotic whirlwind of love, sex, panic and soul-searching.

Captured live from The Old Vic in London, Present Laughter is a giddy and surprisingly modern reflection on fame, desire and loneliness.

Family Films in the Foyers

Family Film Club returns to the Barbican’s Foyers with regular Saturday morning 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).

Lotte Reiniger Fairy Tale Short Films + live narration and piano accompaniment from Lillian Henley (U*)

Dir Lotte Reiniger, approx 60 min, Age recommendation: 4+
Sat 31st Oct, 11am, Stalls Floor Foyer, Level minus 1

Beautiful silhouette animations by Lotte Reiniger – the original scissorhand – are accompanied live by the pianist, Lillian Henley.

Lillian’s music and narration will bring to life a selection of stories featuring princes, princesses, woodcutters, frogs, geese and more in a selection of fairy tale films from the archive. The programme will include: Cinderella, Thumbelina, The Three Wishes, The Golden Goose and The Frog Prince.  

Creepy Crawly Films for Families (U*)
Dirs. various, approx 60 min, Age recommendation: 4+
Sat 14th Nov, 11am, Stalls Floor Foyer, Level minus 1

A medley of movies celebrating all that’s creepy and crawly including stories of veg patch caterpillars, fun-loving ants, musical earthworms and every gardener’s nightmare, slimy slugs.

London International Animation Festival: Amazing Animations (U*)
Dirs. various, 75 min, Age recommendation: 4+
Sat 28 Nov, 11.30am, Stalls Floor, Level minus 1

The London International Animation Festival presents 13 of the best, most recent short animated films, 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 besides.

This programme will also be available as part of LIAF on Cinema on Demand programme.

New Releases

For up-to-date new releases in Cinema 1 and Cinema On Demand see:

In My Blood It Runs
Australia 2020, Dir Maya Newell, 90 min
Wed 28 Oct – 25 Nov, Barbican Cinema on Demand

An intimate and compassionate observational documentary from the perspective of a 10-year-old Aboriginal boy in Alice Springs, Australia, struggling to balance his traditional Arrernte/Garrwa upbringing with a state education.

The Human Voice + pre-recorded Q&A with Pedro Almodóvar and Tilda Swinton hosted by film critic Mark Kermode
Spain 2020, Dir Pedro Almodóvar, 30 min
Sat 7 Nov – Wed 11 Nov, Barbican Cinema 1,

Madness and melancholy intersect to thrilling effect as Almodóvar reimagines Jean Cocteau’s short play The Human Voice for an era in which isolation has become a way of life. Laws of desire become the rules of the game as Tilda Swinton’s unnamed woman paces and panics in a glorious Technicolor apartment, where the décor offers a window into her state of mind.

New releases are subject to change

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.

Box office: 020 7638 8891

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: