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Barbican Cinema: October 2021 Highlights

        Curated by the Barbican: 

  • Sam The Wheels, Witness and Filmmaker. The Decolonising Lens + discussion 
  • Robert Cohan Lockdown Portraits + discussion 
  • Forbidden Colours: Colors of Tobi + ScreenTalk via Zoom with director Alexa Bakony 
  • New East Cinema: Celts + pre-recorded ScreenTalk 
  • T A P E Collective Presents: But Where Are You Really From + ScreenTalk 
  • Family Film Week  
  • Family Film Club  


  • Doc’n Roll Film Festival 

Event Cinema: 

  • The V&A presents Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser 

New Releases at Barbican Cinemas and Cinema On Demand 

Barbican Cinema’s October programme celebrates independent cinema with a focus on underheard voices and perspectives, including archivist and filmmaker Clovis Salmon, aka Sam ‘The Wheels’ Sam The Wheels, Witness and Filmmaker who filmed in Brixton between the 1960s and 1980s; and the first in a three-part series from T A P E Collective, a presentation of short films by mixed heritage filmmakers around the themes of identity and heritage, exploring othering, belonging and the trouble of melting pots.

Two regular Barbican Cinema programmes return in October: Forbidden Colours, which celebrates rarely seen queer-focused films from places where LGBTQ+ people still suffer societal oppression and struggle for equality with Colors of Tobi, an uplifting Hungarian documentary which follows a queer teenager keen to move from their rural town to Budapest; and New East Cinema, a London-based collective working to deliver the most recent and exciting auteur-driven cinema from Eastern Europe and Central Asia, will screen the festival favourite Celts, a sharp Serbian comedy set against the backdrop of the Bosnian war in the early 1990s.  

Younger audiences are in for a treat this October, with Barbican Cinema’s Family Film Week, a half-term celebration of films about the natural world, oceans and landscapes, as well as workshops, shorts films and special guest introductions; as well as the regular Family Film Club.  

The late choreographer and dancer Sir Robert Cohan’s remarkable legacy is sensitively captured in Robert Cohan’s Lockdown Portraits, a series of seven short films which screens in a world premiere at the Barbican on 17 October.  

Music lovers are also well catered for the with eighth edition of Doc’n Roll Film Festival, featuring five UK premieres and one London premiere, plus multiple post-screening Q&As.  
Event Cinema this month presents Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser, an exclusive private view of the popular exhibition at the V&A museum, filmed especially for the big screen.  
Curated by the Barbican: 
Sam The Wheels, Witness and Filmmaker. The Decolonising Lens 
UK, years various, Dir Clovis Salmon  
Tue 5 Oct 6pm, Cinema 3  
Barbican Cinema, in partnership with 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning, Autograph ABP, and PARC (Photography and The Archive Research Centre) UAL, celebrate archivist and filmmaker Clovis Salmon, aka Sam ‘The Wheels’ with a special presentation of his work, which is recognised as a unique archive of Brixton’s cultural heritage. 

Clovis Salmon was among the first generation of migrants from the West Indies to settle in the UK, arriving in London in November 1954. Having run his own bike shop in Jamaica, he joined Holdsworth Cycles as a bike repair man, and soon became known as Sam ‘The Wheels’. 

From the late 1950s Clovis Salmon, also a Pentecostal preacher, began filming everyday life in Brixton. A self-taught filmmaker, he captured church services and community events (weddings, christenings, funerals) in his neighbourhood.  

The celebration on 5 October includes rare screenings of films shot by Clovis Salmon on Super 8, and digitised in 2008 by Mutiny Arts, including Somerleyton 1: The Great Conflict of Somerleyton Road (1963-64) and Somerleyton 6. Post Riots. Also, screening is the short 2019 documentary Super Sam made by Sandi Hudson-Francis. A recorded interview between Clovis Salmon, Hudson-Francis, and Mark Sealy, director at Autograph APB will precede a Q&A with Sealy and Lucy Davies, director at 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning. 

Salmon’s extraordinary footage provides a unique insider account, rarely seen through the lens of a local resident. Acting as a citizen journalist, his films offer a counter-narrative uncontaminated by a media agenda. 

World Premiere: Robert Cohan Lockdown Portraits + discussion 
UK 2020, Dir David Stewart 
Sun 17 Oct 3pm, Cinema 2 

The late Sir Robert Cohan’s remarkable legacy is sensitively captured in Robert Cohan’s Lockdown Portraits, a series of seven short films directed by David Stewart and produced by long-time collaborator Yolande Yorke-Edgell, which will receive their world premiere at the Barbican Cinema on 17 October. 

Set amidst stunning architecture and landscape, world-class dancers share their intimate, choreographed conversations with this great artist. Their films feature the seven solos from his final stage work, Afternoon Conversations with DancersSeven stories of isolation, loss and survival. 

Award-winning documentary filmmaker David Stewart’s collaboration with Cohan was built on mutual trust and understanding of what it is to be human. Together they brought Cohan’s 95 years of life experience to these seven highly-personal yet universal stories of isolation, loss and, ultimately, survival. 

Set to music by Nils Frahm and Olafur Arnolds and danced by artists from the Martha Graham Dance Company, The Royal Ballet, Phoenix Dance Theatre, New Movement Collective and Yorke Dance Project, these personal portraits are a unique opportunity to intimately experience Cohan’s final work with stark immediacy. 

Produced by Yorke Dance Project, under the directorship of long-time Cohan collaborator Yolande Yorke-Edgell, this world premiere screening will be followed by a talk with Yorke-Edgell and Stewart, hosted by Kenneth Tharp, Interim CEO of Eclipse Theatre, former Chief Executive of The Place and dancer with Cohan’s celebrated London Contemporary Dance Theatre. 

Forbidden Colours: Colors of Tobi (15*) + ScreenTalk via Zoom with director Alexa Bakony 
Hungary 2021, Dir Alexa Bakony, 81 min  
Tue 19 Oct 6.20pm, Cinema 2 
Alexa Bakony’s moving and uplifting documentary follows a queer teenager keen to move from their rural town to Budapest. 

Meet Tobi, a 16-year-old living in a small village in the Hungarian countryside, who can’t wait to leave school and head to Budapest. Tobi, who came out as male in their early adolescence, is now moving towards identifying as non-binary. Tobi’s mother, Éva, struggles to understand her child’s identity in a country where trans rights are increasingly diminished. 
Alexa Bakony’s documentary evolves into a moving and inspiring portrait of the relationship between a mother and her child. Éva makes mistakes (in one scene she unthinkingly deadnames her child, to Tobi’s distress) but goes on a powerful emotional journey of her own, while Tobi’s conversations with their family make for a poignant and sensitive portrayal of unconditional love. 

This screening will be followed by a ScreenTalk via Zoom with director Alexa Bakony This film will be captioned for the D/deaf and hard of hearing and the ScreenTalk will be live-captioned. 

T A P E Collective Presents: But Where Are You Really From? 15* + ScreenTalk 
Wed 20 Oct 6.15pm, Cinema 2 

The first in a three-part series, a presentation of short films by mixed heritage filmmakers around the themes of identity and heritage, exploring othering, belonging and the trouble of melting pots. Full programme to be announced on 28 Sep. The programme is being delivered with the support of the BFI (awaiting funds from the National Lottery) to create a conversation of the British mixed heritage experience. Full programme to be announced on 28 Sep.

New East Cinema: Celts (18*) + pre-recorded ScreenTalk 
Serbia 2021 Dir Milica Tomovic 106 min 
Wed 20 Oct 8.45pm, Cinema 2  

One of the highlights at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, Milica Tomović’s sharp Serbian comedy is set 1993, while the country is at war, Belgrade is under sanctions, inflation is at its height and criminals exploit the chaos. 

A tired mother hosts her daughter, Minja’s, birthday party (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles themed) in a Belgrade suburb. Tomović creates a brilliant, funny and sometimes shocking comedy of a complex family that recalls the best work of Mike Leigh.  
The film boasts terrific performances, particularly from Katarina Dimic as the Turtle-obsessed birthday girl. 

Family Film Week  
Sat 23 – Sat 30 Oct  
Barbican Cinema 2  
Barbican Cinema’s half-term celebration of film for young audiences and their families features films about the natural world, including stories about gardens, oceans, animals and landscapes, as well as workshops, shorts films and special guest introductions. 
Family Film Week goes on sale on Wed 15 Sep for Barbican members, and Thu 16 Sep for general public. 
All films on Sat 23 Oct will be captioned with BSL interpreted introductions. 

Family Film Club  
Every Saturday 11am, Barbican Cinema 2 
In October FFC screens the best films from the summer that families may have missed, as well as a selection of international titles all about animals and the natural world. Plus, there is the regular Show & Tell introduction at the beginning of the month as well as a free live activity on the last Saturday of the month. See Family Film Club for up-to-date information.  

Doc’n Roll Film Festival  
28 Oct – 10 Nov 
Barbican Cinemas 1&2  
The eighth edition of Doc’n Roll Film Festival, returns to the Barbican with six compelling feature-length documentaries about music, musicians and the worlds they inhabit. Featuring five UK premieres and one London premiere, plus multiple post-screening Q&As tickets go on sale on 16 Sep.     

For further information: 

Event Cinema: 
The V&A presents Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser 
UK 2021, 80 min  
Sun 17 Oct 2pm, Cinema 3 

The V&A presents Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser, an exclusive private view of the exhibition at the V&A in London, filmed especially for the big screen. 

A guided tour ‘down the rabbit hole’ with the V&A Curator Kate Bailey and presenter Andi Oliver explores how Alice has become an enduring icon, influencing successive generations and inspiring creativity in fashion, film, photography and on the stage.  
This special cinema event will bring to life the magical world of a landmark exhibition that charts the evolution of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, from manuscript to a global phenomenon beloved by all ages.