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Barbican Cinema September 2023 highlights

There’s much for film lovers to enjoy in September with a bold programme of international cinema. This month, Barbican Cinema celebrates ‘rebel filmmakers,’ with works from Binka Zhelyazkova, a pioneer of Bulgarian cinema, Amos Guttman, the first openly gay Israeli filmmaker, the provocateur Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and Chantal Akerman, who was at the forefront of modern feminist cinema.

Festivals, Seasons and Special Events

  • As Mine Exactly: Charlie Shackleton's Virtual Reality Performance + Cinema screenings: Window Water Baby Moving & Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographe + Conversation with Charlie Shackleton
  • Hidden Figures: The films of Binka Zhelyazkova 
  • Hannah Strong Presents… The Virgin Suicides 4K Restoration
  • The Third Generation + Discussion with Ian Penman & Gareth Evans
  • An Evening of Purpose, We Are Parable
  • Regular Programme strands
  • Cinema Restored: I Heard It Through the Grapevine + Conversation with Director Dick Fontaine + Archivist Haden Guest. In partnership with Open City Documentary Festival
  • Cinema Restored: European Restoration Premiere Amazing Grace + extended intro by film programmer Nir Cohen and Head of Barbican Cinema Gali Gold
  • Science on Film: The Faculty + Presentation by Colm Connaughton
  •  Architecture on Film: News From Home + La Chambre + intro by filmmaker Adam Roberts
  • Family Film Club
  • Relaxed Screenings & Senior Community Screenings
  • Pay What You Can Screenings

Event Cinema

  • NT Live: Fleabag
  • Royal Opera House Live: Das Rheingold

This month, Barbican Cinema celebrates those rebels with a camera: showcasing works from directors who have challenged the status quo, with Binka Zhelyazkova in the Hidden Figures strand; Amos Guttman, who made groundbreaking films putting queer people at the centre of the story; Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s The Third Generation; and the filmmaker and artist Chantal Akerman’s News From Home and La Chambre.

Hidden Figures returns in Sep with the rarely screened films of Binka Zhelyazkova, who was active during Bulgaria’s totalitarian years and whose films were often censored and even banned by the state.

As Mine Exactly, by the London based filmmaker Charlie Shackleton, is a thirty-minute virtual reality performance, in which he invites the audience to explore his late childhood and the formative events that defined it.
In response to his piece, Shackleton will also present two films in the cinema
Window Water Baby Moving and Eadweard Muybridge.

Cinema Restored  presents two screenings: the European  Premiere of Amos Guttman’s newly restored 1992 gay Israeli drama Amazing Grace, with an introduction by film programmer Nir Cohen and Barbican Head of Cinema Gali Gold. Made shortly before Guttman’s untimely death, this touching film depicts a young gay man who moves to Tel Aviv and strikes up a relationship with an older man, who is HIV positive. This is one of the first Israeli films to depict  same sex relationships and to openly touch on the topic of AIDS.

Presented in partnership with the Open City Documentary Festival, I Heard it Through the Grapevine is an intimate portrait of the celebrated writer James Baldwin, which is followed by a ScreenTalk with director Dick Fontaine and archivist Haden Guest.

For Hannah Strong Presents… The Virgin Suicides 4K Restoration, the screening will be preceded by a presentation on the impact and legacy of Sofia Coppola’s captivating feature debut. For over 20 years, Coppola's film has connected primarily with young women and girls and is an acute portrait of suburban teenage melancholy. Presented as part of Cinema Rediscovered on Tour.

Further highlights this month include: An Evening of Purpose, in which We Are Parable and Jessica Huie MBE present a second evening of uplifting screenings, performance, discussion and networking; the 15-year anniversary screening programmed by Architecture on Film, featuring News From Home + La Chambre from the singular Chantal Akerman, with an introduction by filmmaker Adam Roberts; and Science on Film: The Faculty with a presentation by Colm Connaughton.

Coinciding with the publication of Ian Penman's Fassbinder Thousands of Mirrors, Barbican Cinema screens The Third Generation, Fassbinder's chaotic delve into the world of terrorism, capitalist greed, and human desires in post-war Germany. Followed by a discussion with Ian Penman and Gareth Evans.

The ever-popular Family Film Club screens the nature documentary Earth: One Amazing Day, from BBC Earth Films (with a pre-film workshop), as well as the classic animé Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, and introduction from Ghibliotheque.

Festivals, Seasons and Special Events:

As Mine Exactly (15) (LC)

UK 2022, Dir Charlie Shackleton
1–3, 8–10 Sep, 11am-5.15pm, Level G Studio

In this intimate blend of virtual reality and performance film, a mother and son revisit the medical emergency that reshaped their lives, and the remarkable fragments that remain of that time. Through a 30-minute virtual reality performance, artist Charlie Shackleton explores his childhood relationship with his mother through personal photographs, videos and other ephemera, for an audience of one, through a VR headset.

Complementing the performance is a special screening:

Window Water Baby Moving + Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographe 12 (LC) + conversation with Charlie Shackleton

Thu 21 Sep, 6.25pm. Cinema 2

In this programme Charlie Shackleton selects two films in response to As Mine Exactly and will be in conversation to expand upon his most recent moving image work.

Window Water Baby Moving

Stan Brakhage, 1959, USA, 12mins
A short film in which the celebrated artist, Stan Brakhage, films the birth of his daughter.

+ Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer

Thom Andersen, 1975, USA, 59 mins

An experimental biography of Muybridge, where Andersen presents his re-animation of his historic sequential photographs, and an inspired examination of their philosophical implications.


Hidden Figures – The Films of Binka Zhelyazkova
13 – 27 Sep, Cinema 2+3

Barbican Cinema’s Hidden Figures programme returns this autumn with a celebration of the rarely seen work of Binka Zhelyazkova (1923 – 2011), who was not only the first female fiction director in Bulgaria, but also one of the few whose work reached beyond the Iron Curtain. Yet, despite this, she remains relatively unknown in the UK. During her centenary year, the Barbican, in partnership with New East Cinema and the London-based Bulgarian writer and programmer Savina Petkova, is pleased to showcase three of her films:
UK Restoration Premiere: The Tied Up Balloon (15*) + ScreenTalk with curators

Teodosia Dobriyanova and Savina Petkova
Bulgaria 1967, Dir Binka Zhelyazkova, 98min

Wed 13 Sep, 6.15pm, Cinema 2

UK Restoration Premiere: We Were Young (15*) + Intro by curator Savina Petkova

Bulgaria 1961, Dir Binka Zhelyazkova, 98min

Sun 17 Sep, 5.40pm, Cinema 3

The Swimming Pool (15*) + Intro by curator Teodosia Dobriyanova

Bulgaria 1977, Dir Binka Zhelyazkova, 98min

Wed 27 Sep, 8.15pm, Cinema 2

To view the full press release:

Hannah Strong Presents… The Virgin Suicides 4K Restoration (15)

USA 1999, Dir Sofia Coppola, 97min
Sun 17 Sep, 2.45 pm, Cinema 1

Sofia Coppola’s dreamy 1970s Detroit drama follows a group of teenage boys who become obsessed with five enigmatic sisters who are sheltered by their strict, religious parents. Starring Kirsten Dunst, Kathleen Turner, Josh Hartnett and James Woods. With music by French electronic duo AirHannah Strong (author of Sofia Coppola: Forever Young) will present on the cultural significance and legacy of The Virgin Suicides, particularly in relation to teenage girls and coming-of-age films in contemporary culture.
Presented as part of Cinema Rediscovered on Tour.

The Third Generation + Discussion with Ian Penman & Gareth Evans

West Germany 1979, Dir Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 111 minutes
Mon 25 Sep, 7pm, Cinema 1

Fassbinder weaves together an intricate narrative that follows a group of young, radical terrorists planning their next revolutionary act.

The film stands as a poignant reflection on the collective disillusionment and ideological confusion of an entire generation.
Presented in partnership with Fitzcarraldo Editions.

An Evening of Purpose, We Are Parable

Fri 29 Sep, 6.30pm, Cinema 1

We Are Parable and Jessica Huie MBE present the second edition of An Evening of Purpose at the Barbican - an evening of uplifting film screenings, performance, discussion, and networking specially curated to reconnect the audience with their purpose in a time of change.
Presented by Barbican Creative Collaboration.

Regular Programme strands:

Cinema Restored: Open City Documentary Festival: I Heard it Through the Grapevine

12 LC + ScreenTalk with director Dick Fontaine and archivist Haden Guest

USA 1982, Dir Dick Fontaine, 91min DCP

Mon 11 Sep, 6.30pm, Cinema 1

Dick Fontaine’s portrait of James Baldwin follows the great writer at a pivotal moment late in his life; as he made the difficult return for the first time to key sites of the Civil Rights Movement to reconnect with friends and activists and reflect, often with stark candour, upon the achievements and failures of the struggle for racial justice. Fontaine makes remarkable use of archival footage to make powerfully vivid the experience of Baldwin and legendary figures such as Fred Shuttlesworth and Amira Baraka whose searing testimony speak with startling relevance to the present day.


Cinema Restored: European Restoration Premiere: Amazing Grace (18*) + extended introduction by film programmer Nir Cohen and Head of Cinema Gali Gold

Israel 1992, Dir Amos Guttman, 99 mins

Tue 12 Sep, 6.20pm, Cinema 3

Young Jonathan (Gal Hoyberger) moves to Tel Aviv to seek love and excitement in the city. He develops a tender relationship with Thomas (Sharon Alexander), an older gay man who, unbeknownst to Jonathan, is living with HIV. Thomas, who is visiting his birth city after years in New York, has returned to say goodbye to his mother and dying grandmother.

Amazing Grace is the final, heavily autobiographical film from pioneering Israeli filmmaker Amos Guttman, a melancholy, poetic drama with beautiful visual flourishes. Guttman put queer people and outsiders at the centre of his films, at a time when LGBTQ+ representation was extremely rare in Israeli cinema. He died from an AIDs-related illness a year after the film’s release.

Family Film Club

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (PG) + Introduction from Ghibliotheque
Japan 1984, Dir Hayao Miyazaki, 117min
Sat 16 Sep, 11am, Cinema 2

To tie in with the release of Ghibliotheque’s new book for young film fans The World of Studio Ghibli, Family Film Club is delighted to welcome its authors Michael Leader and Jake Cunningham for an on-stage discussion about this famous studio.

Finding Dory

US 2016, Dir Andrew Stanton, 97min

Sat 23 Sep, 11am, Cinema 2

Pixar’s animation sparkles as Dory takes the audience on another journey across the ocean. This sequel to Finding Nemo broke box office records on release and is a must see on the big screen for an audience of littl’uns.

Earth: One Amazing Day
(U) + Pre-film Workshop

US/UK 2017, Dir Peter Webber, Richard Dale and Lixin Fan, 94min 
Sat 30 Sep, 11am, Cinema 2, the workshop starts at 10am, prior to the screening

Following a cast of animals across the planet over 24 hours, from BBC Earth Films, this is captivating on the big screen and is a must for young fans of BBC’s Planet Earth and Blue Planet series.


Science on Screen: The Faculty (15) + Presentation by Colm Connaughton 
USA 1998, Dir Robert Rodriguez, 100min
Tue 19 Sep, 6.15pm, Cinema 2  

The Breakfast Club meets Invasion of the Body Snatchers in this cult 90s, sci-fi horror set in a US high school, following a bunch of misfits as they attempt to navigate a covert parasitic takeover. Before the film, Colm Connaughton (Director of the London Mathematical Laboratory) presents on emergent phenomena; the idea that the whole is more than the sum of its parts and that collectives behave fundamentally differently from the individual units that make them up. Presented in Partnership with the London Mathematical Laboratory.

Architecture on Film: News From Home + La Chambre12A* 

Introduced by Adam Roberts

US 1977 Dir Chantal Akerman 85 min
Thu 28 Sep 6.40pm, Cinema 1   

Two remarkable syntheses of self, home, presence, absence, city and cinema from Chantal Akerman. Introduced by filmmaker and curator Adam Roberts.

La Chambre

Belgium 1972, Dir Chantal Akerman, 11 min
A rotating camera produces a still life and self-portrait though the structures of home and cinema.

News From Home

Belgium/ France 1976, Dir Chantal Akerman, 85 min
In this landmark experimental feature, elegant long takes capture the dispassionate and seductive streets of 70s New York City, as the unseen director reads letters sent to her by her mother – received, we might imagine in the apartment of La Chambre.

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.   

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,.

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

NT Live: Fleabag (15)
Thu 7 Sep, 8.30pm, Cinema 2

Another chance to catch Pheobe Waller-Bridge’s heart-breaking yet funny show, directed by Vicky Jones.

Royal Opera House: Das Rheingold (12A)
Sun 24 Sep 2pm, Cinema 3

A bold new imagining of the first chapter of Wagner’s famous Ring cycle.