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Barbican Cinema - July 2023 programme highlights

Festivals, Seasons and Special Events

·         Eat the Screen: Films to Feed Conversations About Food

·         Un/Seen Spectres

·         SAFAR Film Festival

·         Where Were You in 1992? + From a Year with Thirteen Moons + Stephen Lawrence: Living with the Bunker + ScreenTalk with filmmaker Paul Halliday and artists Amanda Egbe and Rastko Novakovic


Regular Programme strands

·         Family Film Club: Little Pickles – Shorts Programme, part of Eat the Screen season

·         Science on Screen: Them! + Presentation by Sarah Hart

·         New East Cinema: Red Africa + ScreenTalk

·         Architecture on Film: Balnearios

·         Senior Community Screenings

·         Relaxed Screenings

·         Pay What You Can Screenings


Event Cinema

·         Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty 

·         ODESZA – The Last Goodbye Cinematic Experience

·         Oklahoma! The Musical


Barbican Cinema is delighted to start the month with Eat the Screen: Films to Feed Conversations About Food, a timely season of curated films exploring food and food culture which will take place throughout July and August.

The SAFAR Film Festival returns offering a unique space for audiences to explore and celebrate the diversity of Arab cinema past and present; this year’s line-up includes films from Morocco, Lebanon and Palestine. 

New East Cinema presents Alexander Markov’s fascinating documentary Red Africa + ScreenTalk, which considers the history of influence exerted by the USSR over many African states between 1960 and 1990, working from extraordinary archival footage filmed by Soviet operators.

Architecture on Film also has an international theme this month with Mariano Llinás’s Balnearios, a deep dive into the fantasies and realities of Argentine bathing resorts and the idea of cities dedicated exclusively to leisure.  

Marking the 30th anniversary of the murder of Stephen Lawrence Barbican Cinema presents a month-long installation of Amanda Egbe and Rastko Novaković’s Where Were You in 1992 in the Cinema 1 foyer, plus an evening of film and conversation on 19 July of Paul Halliday’s ground-breaking and rarely seen 1994 documentary Stephen Lawrence: Living with the Bunker, together with Egbe and Novaković’s brand-new work From a Year with Thirteen Moons.

Further July highlights include Science On Screen’s Them! + Presentation by Sarah Hart, an iconic science fiction film from 1954; curated by Awa Konaté of Culture Art Society (CAS), these two programmes spotlight short films by primarily Afro-Swedish filmmakers including rarely screened shorts by filmmaker Madubuko Diakité; and Family Film Club: Little Pickles shorts programme, a morning of mouth-watering mini stories all about the joy of food and eating, screening as part of Eat the Screen.

Festivals, Seasons and Special Events

Eat the Screen: Films to Feed Conversations About Food
1 Jul – 24 Aug, Cinema 1,2 & 3

This summer, Barbican Cinema is delighted to offer a smorgasbord of films and conversations exploring food and food culture in Eat the Screen: Films to Feed Conversations About Food.

Food is at the heart of our cultures and identities, but increasingly it is also at the centre of contemporary debate around sustainability, farming, the power of big supermarkets, food waste, and whether (or not) to eat meat or animal products. 

This curated season of short films, features and documentaries – many with introductions, and ScreenTalks – will feed into these discussions and more, while at the same time it celebrates the universal riches found in home cooking, locally-produced ingredients, a shared meal and a favourite local restaurant.

The programme, which stretches over two months will include screenings tailored for the youngest audiences in Barbican’s Family Film Club and a Free Senior Community Screening. Full press release details available on the Barbican press room from 1 June.

Un/Seen Spectres  

5 Jul & 12 Jul, Cinema 2

Un/Seen Spectres is a gathering of moving image works by Afro-Swedish artists and filmmakers of who transverse across trans-national, trans-geographical and inter-generational histories. These screenings, curated by Awa Konaté, Culture Art Society (CAS), seek to demonstrate the ways in which Black filmmakers weave tapestries of migration, memory, and myth to explore different types of uncharted navigations of time and space.


Un/Seen Spectres Programme 1: Sylwan and two films by Madubuko Diakité + intro by Awa Konaté 
Wed 5 July, 6.30pm, Cinema 2 


2022 Sweden, Somalia, dir Salad Hilowle, 15 min  

The Invisible People (Det osynliga folket) 

1971 Sweden, dirs Nordal Åkerman, Madubuko Diakité, Gary Engman, 30 min 

For Personal Reasons (Av personliga skäl) 

1972 Sweden, USA, dir Madubuko Diakité, 29 min 

In the first Un/Seen Spectres programme, Somali-Swedish artist Salad Hilowle Sylwan conjures the life of actor Joe Sylwan, who played a minor part in the first film adaptation of Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking, to poignantly meditate on Black people’s presence within this region of Europe. 

The Invisible People, co-directed by African-Swedish filmmaker Madubuko Diakité, offers a biting and uncompromising political treatise on the conditions of African migrants in Sweden, laying bare the haunting malaises of colonialism. In For Personal Reasons, also by Diakité, experimental jazz and radical Black activism, drawing on the Black Panthers, collide through the tense heights of a 1970 protest as fertile ground for Black revolt. 


Un/Seen Spectres Programme 2: Two West African Films and Eva’s Man + recorded intro by Awa Konaté 

Westafrican Roadmovie 

2018 Sweden, dir Agassi F Bangura & Ilja Karilampi, 39 min 

Eva’s Man 

1976 USA, dir Anita Addison, 15 min 

Taxi Sister 

2011 Sweden, dir Theresa Traoré Dahlberg, 29 min 

Wed 12 July, 6.30pm, Cinema 2 

In Westafrican Roadmovie, by artists Agassi F Bangura and Ilja Karilampi, the viewer is brought along on an adventure in the style of a GoPro-travel documentary. Different blocks are merged together; a backstreet in Accra leads to a shore in Sierra Leone, with a soundtrack of Swedish pop music – and behind every corner lies a makeshift gym, a slaughtered hen, or a tailor of fake Dior suits in Guinea-Conakry. 

Anita Addison’s Eva’s Man draws inspiration from Gayl Jones’ novel, centring on a woman who recounts and records an apparent murder, verging on the borders of reality. Completing the programme, Taxi Sister (2011) by Swedish-Burkinabé artist Theresa Traoré Dahlberg situates us within the conditions of patriarchy and possibilities that emerge in spite of gendered forms of alienated labour through Boury, a woman taxi driver in Dakar, Senegal.  

Curated by Awa Konaté of Culture Art Society (CAS). With thanks to Site Zones and the Nordic Art Association (NKF). 


SAFAR Film Festival
7-9 Jul, Cinema 2&3

The SAFAR Film Festival is the largest festival in the UK dedicated to cinema from the Arab world. For its eighth edition, SAFAR is embarking on a journey through space and time in Arab cinema, mapping the region across a new axis and showcasing films which traverse territories and historical periods.

The Barbican line-up includes the UK premiere of Notes On Displacement

(Palestine/ Germany/ Qatar 2022), in which Khaled Jarrar takes a deep dive into the fear and disorientation felt by a Syrian family on their gruelling journey to seek a new life in Germany; and the award-winning The Blue Caftan (France, Morocco, Belgium, Denmark 2023, Dir Maryam Touzani), in which a middle-aged tailor and his wife – in one of Morocco’s most traditional medinas – find their relationship turned upside down by the arrival of a handsome new male apprentice.

Further highlights include Borhane Alaouiés classic Beirut The Encounter (Lebanon, Tunisia & Belgium, 1981), about two college former lovers, separated between the warring East and West sides during the Lebanon Civil War; and Foragers + Soup Over Bethlehem, a double-bill of films about food and politics, presented in partnership with the Eat The Screen season

For further information:

Where Were You in 1992? Installation  
2023 UK, Amanda Egbe and Rastko Novaković, 35min total
1-31 July, Cinema 1 foyer 

Completed as part of the project Rumours of War (2018) Amanda Egbe and Rastko Novaković’s Where Were You in 92? brings together three films which consider the anti-fascist struggles in the UK and the struggles against ethno-nationalism in the break-up of Yugoslavia. Surveillance | Monitoring (2019) investigates the surveillance of English fascists and the monitoring of fascist attacks side-by-side, and Svetozar in Spring (2019) an essay on the popular occupation of the Bosnian parliament in 1992, together with the Bosnian Spring uprisings of 2014. Visitors will be able to leave their own testimonies and memories of 1992, using an app. 

Where Were You in 1992? Screening + Conversation with Paul Halliday, Amanda Egbe and Rastko Novaković

2023 UK, Amanda Egbe and Rastko Novaković, length tbc

Stephen Lawrence: Living with the Bunker 

UK 1994, dir Paul Halliday, 52 min 

From a Year with Thirteen Moons
2023, Amanda Egbe and Rastko Novaković, length tbc
Wed 19 Jul 6.30pm, Cinema 1 

Paul Halliday’s Stephen Lawrence: Living with the Bunker focuses on the impact of the BNP national headquarters in Greenwich on the local community and was the first film to expose the extent of far-right involvement in this murder. From a Year with Thirteen Moons is brand new work by artists Egbe and Novaković incorporating readings in response to the artists’ filmed material. 

Regular Programme strands:

Family Film Club: Shorts Programme: Little Pickles (U*)

The last Family Film Club screening for before the summer break is a short film programme as part of the Eat The Screen season, a morning of mouth-watering mini stories all about the joy of food and eating for younger audiences.

Science On Screen: Them (PG) + Presentation by Sarah Hart

USA 1954, Dir Gordon Douglas, 89 min

Tue 4 Jul, 6.15 pm, Cinema 2

Science on Screen presents this iconic science fiction film from 1954. The first film to use insects as the threat, Them! explores potential risks of atomic developments in the form of gigantic human eating ants.

Following atomic testing, a nest of mutated human-eating gigantic ants is discovered in the New Mexico desert. The monsters make their way to LA and wreak havoc on the human population. It's the job of a sergeant, an FBI agent and a scientist, to save everyone.

This will be followed by a presentation by Sarah Hart, Professor of Mathematics at Birkbeck.

New East Cinema: Red Africa (12A*) [UK Cinema Premiere] + ScreenTalk with Professor Jeremy Hicks and Dr Awino Okech
Russia & Portugal 2022, Dir Alexander Markov, 65 min

Mon 10 July, Cinema 2, 6.25pm

In the 1960s, when many African nations were breaking away from Western colonialism, the USSR employed Soviet propaganda to exert influence on the continent. Moving through the subtly assembled archive, the film slowly reveals the face of colonialism masqueraded as comradery. As the recently liberated nations (and those still fighting for their freedom) are promised, their new friend’s real motifs are subtly revealed and ships with raw materials are seen departing for Moscow.

Markov’s documentary demonstrates that the moving image remained central to Soviet mythmaking until the very end of the USSR.

Architecture on Film: Balnearios (PG)

Argentina 2002, Dir Mariano Llinás, 80 min

Thu 13 July, 7.00pm, Cinema 1

A deep dive into the fantasies and realities of Argentine bathing resorts – ‘modern pagan cities given to the worship of the sea’ – the debut film from Mariano Llinás, one of cinema’s most singular auteurs.

Blurring sharp social geography with the sardonic wit of a master storyteller, Llinás’ (La Flor, Extraordinary Stories) feature offers a ‘documentary’ in four chapters.

A portrait of four Argentine bathing resorts unfolds a journey from the sea to the provinces, via a noirish parable of a phantasmagoric hotel, a granular sociology of the beach, a trip to a mysterious Atlantis and an encounter with the enigmatic Zucco.

Llinás bemused fascination and labyrinthine interrogation of “the multi-purpose stadium” of the sand and the “pharaonic cities” built beside it, results in a rare gem.

Curated by the Architecture Foundation,


Event Cinema:

Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty (12A*)

UK 2012, Dir Matthew Bourne, 112 min
Sun 2 Jul, 2.45 pm, Cinema 2

Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty comes to the big screen as part of its 10th anniversary celebrations. Now established as a firm favourite in the New Adventures repertoire, this ‘utterly brilliant’ (★★★★★ Sunday Mirror) award-winning production has enchanted audiences throughout the UK and across the globe.

ODESZA The Last Goodbye Cinematic Experience
104 min
Wed 12 Jul, 8.30pm, Cinema 1

A chance for the first time ever for fans to witness the American electronic duo ODESZA live show as an immersive concert film. The Last Goodbye Cinematic Experience provides a look behind-the-curtain into the process of creating ODESZA’s successful return to the touring stage.

Oklahoma! The Musical (PG*)

2023 USA, dir Trevor Nunn, 193 min

Sun 16 Jul, 4pm, Cinema 1

With the energy of live theatre, directed by Trevor Nunn, this is the 1998 revival of the National Theatre’s acclaimed, Olivier Award-winning production of Oklahoma! 

Senior Community Screenings

Every second Mon, 11am, 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.

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: