Saved events

Press room

Barbican Cinema June 2024

This June, Barbican Cinema kicks off Pride Month with Queer 80s: Cinema on the Brink of Global Change, a specially curated season of ground-breaking films from around the world, made during a decade in which LGBTQ+ representation and creativity thrived in the build-up to considerable social and political changes.

The largest festival in the UK dedicated to cinema from the Arab world, SAFAR Film Festival returns to the Barbican this month, with a programme bookended by Lina Soualem’s Bye Bye Tiberias and the festival’s Closing Night film The Burdened, directed by Amr Gamal, which will have its UK premiere as part of the festival.

The ever-popular Silent Film & Live Music strand – which showcases the rich history of silent film, brought to life with live musical performances – presents a rare screening of Bed and Sofa, made in 1927. This wry sex comedy from the former Soviet Union offers a fascinating insight into male-female relations in the supposedly post-bourgeois Soviet society. With music composed and performed by the Electronic & Produced Music Department at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. 

Cinema Restored in partnership with the Open City Documentary Festival presents two films – Antuca and Porque quería estudiar – and a ScreenTalk with director María Barea and Associate Professor of Latin American Studies at University College London Dr Maria Chiara D'Argenio. This is a special presentation of two works that examine the harsh realities of domestic workers' struggles in Peru. 

Further highlights this month include a Refugee Week 2024 screening of We Dare to Dream and ScreenTalk with director Waad al-Kateab (For Sama), telling the story of refugee athletes from Iran, Syria and South Sudan who run, swim and fight their way to opportunity and safety in host nations across the world; and Senior Community Screenings include  award-winning The Zone of Interest and The Farewell

Festivals, Seasons and Special Events:

26 June 

Regular Programme strands:

Event Cinema:

  • Royal Opera House Live: Message in a BottleSun 2 June 
  • Royal Opera House Live: Andrea Chenier – Sun 16 June 

Festivals, Seasons and Special Events

Queer 80s: Cinema on the Brink of Global Change
Wed 5 Jun – Wed 26 June
Cinema 1, 2 + 3 

Throughout the 1980s, queer filmmakers across the world seized the camera to tell new stories in different ways with provocative and unapologetic depictions of LGBTQ+ people making it to the big screen. 

Queer 80s invites audiences to time travel back to a decade of activism and political turmoil. The world was on the edge of transformation, borders were about to shift (three of the films in this film programme originate from countries that would not exist beyond 1991), the work to end Apartheid in South Africa continued while - even as archaic laws around homosexuality began to be revoked - the Aids crisis led to a rise in a terrible wave of homophobia.

Freak Orlando (18*) + ScreenTalk with Ulrike Ottinger
West Germany 1981, Dir Ulrike Ottinger, 126min

Wed 5 June, 6.30pm

Cinema 2 

Beautiful Mystery (18*) + introduction by Tony Rayns
Japan 1983, Dir Genji Nakamura, 61min
Thu 6 June, 6.30pm
Cinema 1 

Beyond Gravity and other Gay Shorts from New Zealand (15*) + introduction by Daniel Theophanous
New Zealand 1988, Dir Garth Maxwell, 48min
Sat 8 June, 6.30pm
Cinema 2

Showing with
Singing Seas
New Zealand 1988, Dir Mark Summerville, 9min

+ My First Suit
New Zealand 1985, Dir Stewart Main, 28min

The Farewell (15*) + introduction by Mekella Broomberg
Sweden-Finland 1982, Dir Tuija-Maija Niskanen, 90min
Sun 9 June, 6pm
Cinema 2

Radical Defiance: Queer Brazilian Super-8 Shorts 1982-3 (18*) + introduction
Wed 12 June, 6.30pm
Cinema 2 

Brazil 1982, Dir Pedro Nunes, 32min

Baltazar da Lomba
Brazil 1982, Dir Henrique Magalhães, 20min

Era Vermelho Seu Batom (Your Lipstick was Red)
Brazil 1983, Dir Henrique Magalhães, 12min

Tongues Untied (18*) + introduction by Rikki Beadle-Blair and live poetry
US 1989, Dir Marlon Riggs, 55min
Thu 13 June, 6.20pm
Cinema 2 

Showing with:
US 1990, Dir Marlon Riggs, 10min

Ashik Kerib (PG) + introduction by Michael Brooke
Soviet Union 1988, Dir Dodo Abashidze, Sergei Parajanov 73 min
Tue 16 June, 6.30pm
Cinema 3

Law of Desire (18) + introduction by actor Rebecca Root
Spain 1987, Dir Pedro Almodóvar, 102 min
Thu 20 June, 6.20pm
Cinema 1

Quest for Love (15*) + introduction by Tara Brown
South Africa 1988, Dir Helena Nogueira, 94min
Sat 22 June, 6.20pm
Cinema 3

Coming Out (15*) + ScreenTalk with actor Dirk Kummer, hosted by Timothy Phillips. 
East Germany 1989, Dir Heiner Carow, 113min
Wed 26 June, 6.30pm
Cinema 1

To view the full press release: 

Silent Film & Live Music: Bed and Sofa PG*
USSR 1927, Dir Abram Room, 86min, Digital
Sun 9 June, 3pm
Cinema 1

Arriving in Moscow to take up a new job, but with nowhere to stay, Volodya looks up his old army buddy Kolya. Kolya offers him the sofa in the tiny one-room flat he shares with his wife Lyuda, only to have his generosity betrayed a while later when he is away on a business trip. When he returns home, Volodya has moved into the bed, and it’s Kolya’s turn on the sofa. But how satisfactory is this arrangement for Lydua? Has she perhaps only acquired two husbands to cook and clean for? 

Once believed lost, the film was rediscovered in the 1970s and has since become regarded as a Russian masterpiece of the silent era, notable for its unusual frankness, naturalistic performances and sympathetic female character. 

Bed and Sofa screens with music composed and performed by the Electronic & Produced Music Department at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. 

Refugee Week 2024: We Dare to Dream + ScreenTalk with director Waad al-Kateab
UK 2023, Dir Waad al-Kateab, 98min
Wed 19 June, 6.15pm
Cinema 2

Screening just before the Paris Olympics launch in July, We Dare To Dreamfollows the Refugee Olympic Team as they prepare to compete in Tokyo and chronicles their hopes and desires as they fight for a better life, plus a ScreenTalk with the director. 

Spanning a breadth of backgrounds, stories and sports, We Dare To Dream reveals their lives and hopes as they train to compete on the world stage, showing the fire and the drive of young people forced to leave their families, homes and countries of birth to build new lives out of nothing. 

Culminating in their competition at the summer Olympics, their compatriots back home and their new communities in refugee camps watch as these determined young athletes fight for their place in the world.

Fri 21 June – Sun 30 June 
Cinema 1, 2 + 3 

The Barbican will host a number of events during SAFAR FILM FESTIVAL, including a ScreenTalk preview of Bye Bye Tiberias, attended by award-winning filmmaker Lina Soualem, who explores and celebrates her Palestinian family history. Portraying four generations of Palestinian women, including her mother Hiam Abbass (Succession), they keep their story and legacy alive through the strength of their bonds, despite exile, dispossession, and heartbreak. The festival closes at the Barbican with Amr Gamal’s The Burdened, which offers a striking portrait of modern-day Aden and a rare glimpse into the everyday realities of Yemeni families, dealing with the fallout of economic collapse and war. 
The full programme will be announced in early May. 

Regular Programme Strands

Family Film Club  
Every Sat, 11am
Cinema 2 

The best in new releases, international gems, archive classics and specially curated programmes for families every Saturday morning. 

Please check for full programme details. 

Cinema Restored x Open City Documentary Festival: Antuca & Porque quería estudiar (12*) + Screentalk with director María Barea & Dr. Maria Chiara D'Argenio

Antuca, Peru 1992, Dir María Barea & Warmi Cine y Video, 72min
Porque quería estudiar, Peru 1990, Dir María Barea & Warmi Cine y Video, 31min

Mon 3 June, 7pm 
Cinema 2 

A special presentation of two works delving into the realities of domestic workers' struggles. Antuca and Porque quería estudia are Peruvian films, made by María Barea

These films were made in collaboration with Warmi Cine y Video, the pioneering Peruvian women’s film collective (established in 1989) and Iprofoth, a non-profit dedicated to empowering migrant and Indigenous women domestic workers.

Antuca adopts a docu-drama format, focusing on the life of its titular character, Antuca, portraying her journey from Cajamarca to Lima and her involvement in political activism amid employment shifts and identity challenges. 

Porque quería estudiar is a testimonial documentary from 1989 that portrays the harsh reality of hundreds of migrant girls and young women who must travel to the city in search of work as domestic workers.

Senior Community Screenings 

Welcoming 60+ cinema goers to watch the latest new releases every other Monday morning:

Free Senior Community Screening: The Farewell (15*)

Sweden-Finland 1982, Dir Tuija-Maija Niskanen, 90min
Mon 10 June, 11am

Cinema 2 

Screening as part of Queer 80s, this poignant Swedish-language drama by Finnish director Tuija-Maija Niskanen, a gay woman struggles to cope in the repressive home of her bourgeois father on the eve of WWII in Helsinki. 

Released in 1982, it is infused with the spirit of Ingmar Bergman’s period dramas and stars Pirkko Nurmi and Stina Ekblad (Fanny and Alexander) as her lover.

The Zone of Interest (12A) (AD)

US/UK & Poland, Dir Jonathan Glazer, 105min 

Mon 24 June, 11am
Cinema 2 

Jonathan Glazer examines evil through the prism of everyday life for a commandant's family living in the shadow of Auschwitz. 

During World War II, concentration camp commandant, Rudolf Höss (Christian Friedel), and his wife Hedwig (Sandra Hüller), strive to build a dream life for their young family in a house and garden next to the horrors of the 'Final Solution'.

Loosely based on Martin Amis' 2014 novel, the film won the Grand Prix prize at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. 

Relaxed Screenings

Relaxed screenings take place in an environment that is specially tailored for a neurodiverse audience, as well as those who find a more informal setting beneficial:

UK Premiere: Inside My Heart + ScreenTalk with Saskia Boddeke hosted by Lillian Crawford
Netherlands 2022, Dir Saskia Boddeke, 86min

Mon 24 June, 6.15pm
Cinema 3

The boundaries between the rehearsal process and the performance of a piece are blurred in this film about the Kamak theatre group, a professional ensemble for actors with learning difficulties. This will be followed by a ScreenTalk with director Saskia Boddeke, hosted by Lillian Crawford.

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. 

Event Cinema

Royal Opera House Live: Message in a Bottle (12A)

Sun 2 June, 2pm
Cinema 3 
Message In A Bottle is a spectacular new dance-theatre show from five-time Olivier Award nominee Kate Prince, inspired by and set to the iconic hits of 17-time Grammy Award-winning artist Sting.

Royal Opera House Live: Andrea Chenier (12A)

Sun 16 June, 2pm
Cinema 3 

Jonas Kaufmann headlines David McVicar’s spectacular staging, under the baton of long-time collaborator Antonio Pappano – who conducts Giordano’s epic historical drama of revolution and forbidden love in his last production as Music Director of The Royal Opera