Barbican Cinema Curator Alex Davidson picks five films showing queer protest at its best for Pride
In the week when London Pride would normally take place (the Parade now cancelled due to Covid-19), and the cinema programme would usually be celebrating queer cinema from around the world, Barbican Cinema Curator Alex Davidson has selected five films, all available to view online, showing queer protest at its very best.The fight for queer rights is as urgent as ever and film continues to be a vital medium through which to document the LGBTQ+ protests of the past, and push for greater rights in the present. The Black Lives Matter protests have united people against systematic racism, inspiring further rallies campaigning for the rights of black transgender people.
Greta Schiller and Robert Rosenberg’s documentary Before Stonewall (USA 1984) tells the history of queer resistance from the 1920s to the 1969 riots, with insights from Audre Lorde, Allen Ginsberg and more (available on Peccadillo Player).The struggle for gay rights in 1980s England is deftly portrayed in Pride (UK/ France 2014, Dir Matthew Warchus) (BFI Player), a moving culture-clash comedy about the gay activists who joined the 1984 miners’ strike in solidarity, and blends humour and the power of protest.
In Breaking Free (India 2015, Dir Sridhar Rangayan) (Netflix), queer activists across India rally against Section 377, a law introduced during the colonial era criminalising same-sex activity. The urgency of protest is also central to 120 BPM (Beats Per Minute) (France 2018, Dir Robin Campillo) (Curzon Home Cinema), which pulses with the thrill of dissent and passion, as Parisian activists combat political inaction towards the AIDS crisis.
The documentary The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (USA 2017, Dir David France) (Netflix), pays tribute to the black trans-woman who played a key role in the Stonewall riots and explores the suspicious circumstances surrounding her untimely death.
These Curators’ Picks are available to on Read, Watch & Listen from Fri 26 Jun.
Please note that some platforms incur a rental charge for certain titles.
Tunnel Visions: Array
From Friday 3 July, a full video recording of Tunnel Visions: Array will be available on the Barbican’s Read, Watch & Listen page. Array was an audio-visual installation by the Barbican and Culture Mile (the City of London’s cultural district stretching from Farringdon to Moorgate) in Beech Street tunnel, which was part of OpenFest in 2018. The Beech Street tunnel was closed to traffic and turned into a huge blank canvas for digital projections that transformed the area into a stunning visual realisation of Finnish composer Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Karawane. The music is recorded by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, and the installation was created by the Tony Award-winning 59 Productions. A Barbican Meets article with Esa-Pekka Salonen from our archive is also available to read on the Barbican’s website.
Beethoven’s symphonies video series with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique
In celebration of Beethoven’s 250th year, the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique (ORR) have produced a series of videos about Beethoven’s nine symphonies. The videos take an in-depth look at each symphony with the ORR and their founder and conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner exploring each in turn. This week’s video will be an examination of the seventh symphony in Symphony No 7: Dithyrambic Abandon which will be available on the orchestra’s YouTube channel from 5pm on Friday 26 June. Videos for Symphonies Nos 1-6 can also be found there, with the final two to follow over the coming weeks. The videos were originally intended to sit alongside the orchestra’s full Beethoven symphony cycle which was due to take place at the Barbican in May this year.
Serious Livestream Sessions
Barbican Associate Producer, Serious, are hosting the Serious Livestream Sessions on their Facebook and YouTube
Theatre and Dance
CN Lester – Transpose: The Future
Available on YouTube and on Read, Watch & Listen from Friday 26 June at 7pm is CN Lester’s – Transpose: The Future, recorded in 2018 from The Pit, Barbican. A new interview with CN about the production is also published to coincide with the streaming.
A spirit of hopefulness characterises this third edition of Transpose performed at the Barbican, as trans voices look to the future.
This powerful, captivating and affecting celebration of trans identity features Danielle Braithwaite-Shirley, Nicholas Bonadies, Robin Gurney, Jamie Hale, Holden Madagame and Rebekah Ubuntu – talented performers from the trans community. Through opera, poetry, dance and electronica this show considers what gender, identity and individuality might look like tomorrow.
Curated by CN Lester and directed by Kate O’Donnell, two of the trans community’s leading lights and multi-talented performers, it’s a space in which, in the words of CN, ‘we can show you our vulnerabilities, our strengths, and – most of all – our authenticity.
Boy Blue: #30byThursday
During lockdown, Boy Blue Co-Artistic Director Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante challenged himself to create 30 new tracks in only four days, sampling 30 different songs to create new beats.
Using this new musical material, Asante and fellow Boy Blue Co-Artistic Director Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy commissioned eight Boy Blue dancers to create choreography to one of these tracks. During the last two weeks of May, the company, an Artistic Associate at the Barbican, shared a dance a day online. Buoyed by its popularity on social media, Boy Blue has been showcasing pieces from others who have also been inspired by Asante’s #30byThursday music challenge.
Now the company is encouraging anyone to film themselves dancing to their favourite #30byThursday track and post the video on Instagram Stories using @boyblueent and #30byThursday.
Rhiannon Faith Company – DROWNTOWN LOCKDOWN
On Thursday 9 July at 8pm Rhiannon Faith Company launches DROWNTOWN LOCKDOWN, a new 15-minute film available via the company’s and the Barbican’s Facebook pages.
DROWNTOWN LOCKDOWN is a new online prologue to the stage production of DROWNTOWN which was scheduled to be performed in June and July in The Pit, Barbican. Instead of going to the theatre, audiences now virtually meet the play’s characters in their own homes before they leave for the beach depicted in DROWNTOWN. Loneliness, involuntary isolation and the difficulty of leaving the house are all sensitively explored in this poignant, specially created complementary show.
The launch screening of DROWNTOWN LOCKDOWN is followed by a trailer for the stage show and a Q&A discussion with Rhiannon Faith, the film’s director Adam Sheldon and cast members. DROWNTOWN LOCKDOWN will then be available to watch at www.rhiannonfaith.com and on the Barbican’s Read, Watch & Listen page.
DROWNTOWN LOCKDOWN also includes a series of creative task video workshops available to the public. Entitled #VIRUSVULNERABILITIES, they will guide and support people to make their own digital contributions around the themes of the show.
On Tuesday 30 June, the Barbican releases an audio recording of In Conversation: Ragnar Kjartansson on Mixcloud
Every Thursday the Barbican Instagram channel @barbicancentre
All digital content is available for everyone to read, watch and listen to for free at barbican.org.uk/
Image: Katy Blackwood