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Barbican Cinema - June highlights 2023

       Festivals, Seasons and Special Events:


     Regular Programme strands:

  • Family Film Club
  • Senior Community Screenings
  • Relaxed Screenings
  • Pay What You Can Screenings

     Event Cinema:

  • Met Opera Live: Die Zauberflöte
  • Berlin Philharmoniker LIVE: Summer Concert
  • Il Trovatore ROH Live

During Pride Month in June, the Barbican explores queer representation in 1990s cinema with Queer 90s: Cinema from a Decade of Radical Change, a film season featuring eight films from around the world that would change how LGBTQ+ people were seen on screen, forever.

This month also includes a special screening of the eagerly anticipated Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, the sequel to best animated feature Oscar winner Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, with a panel discussion with film critic Amon Warmann, author Paul Taberham + visual development artist Tiffany Lam.

Barbican Cinema continues to showcase diverse stories with Oska Bright – Women in Film, the world’s leading learning disabled film festival, which returns with a screening celebrating the talents of learning disabled and autistic women in film, both in front of and behind the camera.

To mark Refugee Week there are screenings of Captains of Za’atari and The Swimmers, and panel events in collaboration with UK for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Further highlights include Silent Film & Live Music: Ménilmontant + Shorts, an afternoon of experimental silent French films from the 1920s. Dimitri Kirsanoff's Ménilmontant (1926) is a bold display of French impressionism and shows how dramatic silent cinema can be. With music composed by the Guildhall’s Electronic & Produced Music Department.

Family Film Club in June presents a fun summer themed programme for younger audiences with Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox and Moomins and the Midsummer Madness.

Festivals, Seasons and Special Events

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (#) + Panel Discussion
USA 2022, Dirs Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers & Justin K. Thompson, 142min
Sat 3 Jun, 5.40pm, Cinema 2

Amon Warmann (Contributing Editor, Empire Magazine, in-person), Paul Taberham (Associate Professor, Arts University Bournemouth, via Zoom) and Tiffany Lam (Visual Development Artist on the film, via Zoom) discuss the significance of both the Spider-Verse cinematic offerings after a screening of this latest production. This will be hosted by Barbican Cinema Curator Sonia Zadurian.

Silent Film & Live Music: Ménilmontant + Shorts (12A)

France 1924, Dir Dimitri Kirsanoff, 42 min (total film running time: 90min approx.)
Sun 4 Jun 3pm, Cinema 1

This programme of experimental silent films from the 1920s is anchored by Dimitri Kirsanoff’s masterpiece Ménilmontant which is pure melodrama in terms of story – two sisters move to Paris from the country where they are drawn into a tragic love triangle – but extraordinary in its execution.

The plot is communicated entirely with imagery, without recourse to intertitles, and, most startlingly, it opens right in the thick of an axe murder conveyed in near-abstract montage.

Thereafter Kirsanoff uses a wide palette of avant-garde techniques, all the while making lyrical, melancholy use of settings, especially the desolate working-class Parisian district of the film’s title.

Ménilmontant screens here with the director’s later short film Autumn Mists (France 1928) and a selection of works by his contemporary, Germaine Dulac, with music composed by the Guildhall’s Electronic & Produced Music Department.

Queer 90s: Cinema from a Decade of Radical Change

Tue 6 - Thu 29 June, Cinemas 1, 2 & 3

The 1990s was a history-changing period for queer people. While some countries shook off the queerphobia of past decades to take steps towards greater queer liberation, artists in other countries took great risks to celebrate LGBQT+ lives against repressive legislation.

The eight titles in the season include: Flaming Ears plus ScreenTalk with filmmaker Ursula Puerrer, an inventive, one-of-a-kind lesbian sci-fi extravaganza from Austria; My Father is Coming plus ScreenTalk with filmmaker Monika Treut, a wild, sex-positive comedy about a queer, failed actor from Germany who pretends she’s happily married when her father comes to visit her in New York; the Cuban Oscar nominated Strawberry and Chocolate plus introduction by curator Harry Singh, which starts out like a cute gay romcom before developing into something far more provocative; and Deepa Mehta’s powerful melodrama Fire plus introduction by journalist, author and filmmaker Bidisha Mamata – co-presented with the London Indian Film Festival – which kick-started a national conversation about queer rights in India

Further titles include: Dakan plus introduction by Tara Brown, a ground-breaking film from Guinea, hailed as the first West African film to depict a same sex relationship; East Palace, West Palace plus introduction (speaker tbc), an intense, erotically-infused power play about a gay man who is arrested while cruising in the Forbidden City in Beijing; Costa Brava, a fun and breezy comedy featuring a struggling lesbian artist in Barcelona; and I Like You, I Like You Very Much plus introduction by Tony Rayns, a freewheeling, sexy, gay romance from Japan.
See the press room for the full
press release

Oska Bright – Women in Film
Wed 14 Jun, 6.30pm, Cinema 3

A celebration of the talents of learning disabled and autistic women in film, both in front of and behind the camera.

This selection of live action and animated shorts features stories of love, motherhood and even just things that can annoy us. Titles include: On the Surface (Iceland 2021, Dir Fan Sissoko), Pennywort (UK 2020, Dir Rebekah Fortune) and Not a Wallflower (Australia 2019, Dir Lianne Mackessy).

Refugee Week
Tue 20 June and Thu 22 June, Cinemas 1 & 3

To mark Refugee Week, Barbican Cinema presents two films and panel events in collaboration with UN Refugee Agency’s national partner for the United Kingdom, UK for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

First is The Swimmers (UK, Syria & Turkey 2022, dir Sally El-Hosaini), a powerful drama telling the miraculous journey made by two sisters fleeing Syria, hoping to keep alive their dreams of competing at the Olympics. Also screening is Captains of Za’atari (Jordan & Egypt 2021, Dir Ali El Arabi), which follows two best friends in a refugee camp in Jordan who are desperate to become professional footballers.

Both events will be followed by panel discussions with UK for UNHCR ambassadors.

Regular Programme strands:

Family Film Club
11am every Saturday, Cinema 2

Soaring Shorts (U*)
Various dirs. 65min approx
Sat 3 Jun, 11am, Cinema 2

A specially curated shorts programmes put together for youngest audience members – about birds! The programme includes the award winning animation Shoom’s Odyssey, a delightful story of overcoming the odds and finding your family. There will also be a further selection of other bird-themed shorts for younger audiences to enjoy.

Age suggestion: 4+

 The Wind in the Willows (U)
UK 1983, Dir. Mark Hall, 75min

Sat 10 Jun, 11am, Cinema 2

Celebrating its 40th year, this captivating stop motion follows the fortunes of Mole, Rat, Toad and Badger as they navigate riverbank life, the open road, brushes with the law and a battle with the Weasels. This won a BAFTA and an Emmy award when it was first aired on ITV in 1983.

Age suggestion: 5+

Fantastic Mr. Fox (PG) + Intro: Wes Anderson 101
US 2009, Dir Wes Anderson
Sat 17 Jun, 11am, Cinema 2

This adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic is injected with new style, verve and humour – and an A-list Hollywood voice cast. Its exquisitely detailed stop motion animation makes the film a delight for both younger and older audiences alike.

Age suggestion: 6+

+ Wes Anderson 101, 11am, before the film, there will be a short family-friendly introduction about the director Wes Anderson’s unique style and vision.

 Moomins and the Midsummer Madness (U)
Finland 2008, Dir. Maria Lindberg, 88 min.

Sat 24 Jun, 11am, Cinema 2

To celebrate Midsummer Day, Family Film Club screens this sweet and gentle animation that follows the Moomins as they escape a volcano and take refuge from floods.

10am Free pre-film workshop in the Cinema Café

Age suggestion: 4+

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:

Event Cinema:

Met Opera Live in HD
Die Zauberflöte (12A)

Sat 3 Jun, 5.55pm, Cinema 1 

One of opera’s most beloved works receives its first new Met staging in 19 years - a daring vision by renowned English director Simon McBurney.

Berliner Philharmoniker LIVE
Summer Concert (#)

Sat 17 Jun, 3.30pm, Cinema 2

Pianist Yefim Bronfman and conductor Zubin Mehta combine for a memorable summer concert delivered directly to Barbican Cinema 2 live via satellite. 

ROH Live

Il Trovatore
Sun 18 Jun, 2pm, Cinema 3

Starring Ludovic Tézier and Jamie BartonAdele Thomas’s energetic staging sets Verdi’s tale in a Hieronymus Bosch-inspired universe of medieval superstition. Antonio Pappano conducts Verdi’s dramatic score.