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Screen Notes

four young people sitting around a table drinking

Hand-picked by our Cinema curators, discover the stories behind some of the unique films we've screened in our cinemas.

a man and a woman lie in bed next to each other talking
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ScreenNotes: Watermelon Man

Barbican Cinema curator Matthew Barrington, explores the history behind this classic of 70s African American cinema, directed by legendary director, Melvin Van Peebles.

illustration of a giant mouth with a skeleton inside
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Screen Notes: Enter the Brainbox

Edwin Rostron explores the diverse animations from our 'Enter the Brainbox' screening, curated by Christopher Childs and part of Emerging Film Curators 2020.

four young people sitting around a table drinking
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Screen Notes: Nightlife

We embark on a noctural journey full of passion, transgression and joy as we look at these films exploring what happens in bars and clubs after dark.


Roujin Z
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ScreenNotes: Anime's Human Machines

Author and anime expert, Helen McCarthy presents a short history of anime at the Barbican and introduces the films selected for Anime’s Human Machines cinema season.

two people embracing in the bed
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Screen Notes: After the Wave

Cinema curator Tamara Anderson takes us back to the heady days of 1970s France and tells us how the films that came after the Nouvelle Vague were influenced by the turbulent political events of May 1968 – and why these films are still so relevant today.

Echoes of Silence + Pestilent City
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Screen Notes: Bebop New York

Late-50s New York. In Greenwich Village bars and Times Square burger joints painters, writers, critics, musicians were making a new world. Filmmakers were right there too, advocating for freedom from convention.

Lina Wertmuller - main image
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Screen Notes: The Films of Lina Wertmüller

Explore the work of one-time arthouse sensation Lina Wertmüller, one of the most acclaimed directors in world cinema in the 1970s whose work has been near-impossible to see in the UK, until now.