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BIMI (Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image) is a unique place. An exciting research forum housed in a beautiful cinema, BIMI pursues an imaginative public-engagement agenda that combines original and ambitious film curating with top-quality academic research and creative interaction with the artistic and cultural community of London, UK, and beyond.

We programme about 70 events per year, spread over three terms from October to July. These include screenings, discussions, conferences, study days, lectures, book launches and performances, plus our annual international Essay Film Festival (in collaboration with Institute of Contemporary Arts), which has already become a key reference in the film festival circuit (

All of our activities take place in the Birkbeck Cinema, Gordon Square, which features 16mm and twin 35mm projectors in addition to high-quality digital projection. The variety of formats and the quality of our facilities make BIMI an ideal location for research-led events focusing on the presentation of film, television and video materials from across the artistic and cultural spectrum, and drawing on the full historical range of moving image culture (including archival prints and even magic lantern shows).

We think of our Cinema as a laboratory for ideas, debate and experimentation, embodied by the projection of images and sounds that can move us, surprise us, and inspire us to thought and action.

Our programme is built principally around key thematic STRANDS, all of which involve collaboration with colleagues from across Birkbeck and beyond.

Some of these strands are termly: Guilt Group, Digital Animation, Cinephiles, LUX Artists Moving Image, Sci/Film, Urban Change, Fruitvale Film Club, Children’s Film Club. Others are annual, such as the Pittsburgh Lecture, Human Rights Cinema, and the AL Rees Lecture.

We also regularly programme Essay Film special events and preludes, in preparation for our annual Essay Film Festival.

In addition to these thematic strands, we organise many one-off events in response to proposals received from colleagues at Birkbeck and from the wider research community, as well as from cultural institutions and other creative partners.


Our events are open to everyone, and almost all of them are free.

As our programme addresses a variety of social, political and cultural issues related to academic research, we attract a broad range of people to our events, including academics, students, artists, curators, independent researchers, activists, and the general public.

Whilst we have a core audience of people interested in film and the moving image generally, and curious to see a variety of rarely screened films and other works, our public tends to change from event to event based on the topic. In some cases, the content of an event may attract a specific community, as occurred with events about pre-revolutionary popular Iranian cinema, the Senegalese historian Cheikh Anta Diop, the Brazilian works of Vivian Ostrowsky, and the essays films of Lebanese filmmaker Jocelyne Saab. In other cases, we may draw a crowd that is specifically interested in a political or social theme or an area of cultural practice, such as the Digital Animation strand, the Fruitvale Film Club, or our events around Urban Change.

8th May 2019

Art at the Frontier of Film Theory Workshop: Laura Mulvey and Lucy Reynolds

By Russell Banfield Strange and Magical. That’s how Laura Mulvey described this exhibition of her and Peter Wollen’s extraordinary impact on film theory, art history, and avant-garde filmmaking. Letters, diagrams, sketches, scripts, and notes are all displayed relating to four of the six films Mulvey and Wollen made together: Penthesilea: Queen of the Amazons (1974), Riddles…

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27th February 2019

A Conversation Up in the Sky: a preview of Adam Kossoff’s ‘Through the Bloody Mists of Time’

  By Fernando Chaves Espinach Walter Benjamin and Humphrey Jennings never met, but the two intellects surely have much to say to each other in Adam Kossoff’s new film. On February 8th, the Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image (BIMI) at the Birkbeck Cinema enjoyed their impossible conversation as a preview screening of Through the…

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27th February 2019

Let Them Speak: Women’s Voices in Helena Solberg’s short films

Author: Fernando Chaves Espinach Date: 12/02/2019 The final sequence of The Interview (1966) is jarring. After watching a woman preparing for her wedding and listening to middle-class women voicing their opinions on sexuallity and education, we cut to agitation in the streets. Manifestations, placards, masses: society in turmoil, at the gates of a military dictatorship.…

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5th February 2019

Marilyn Monroe: a reappraisal

This recording comes from a discussion between Laura Mulvey and Jacqueline Rose following a screening of Niagara (1953). The recording can be accessed here: Niagara (1953) A newlywed couple, the Cutlers, arrive at Niagara Falls and meet another couple, the Loomis', of differing ages, who are always arguing. Mrs Cutler spies Mrs Loomis kissing another man,…

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18th January 2019

From Animation to Martial Arts: Toward Transcendence of False Movements

This event is part of the Annual University of Pittsburgh Lecture. Event Registration: Jinying Li - Assistant Professor of Film Studies, University of Pittsburgh Animation (donghua pian) and martial arts films (wuxia pian) have demonstrated close affinity with each other in the history of Chinese cinema. They overlap historically and conceptually. The martial arts…

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2nd November 2018

Peltz Gallery Internship

Peltz Gallery Internship Applications now open for 2018/19 Deadline: 10am, 16th November 2018 Send your CV and letter of application here: About the Internship In this position the successful candidate will be tasked with assisting with the organisation, documentation and administrative support for an upcoming exhibition on the work of Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen.…

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10th July 2018

Crafting Resistence: Interview with Jasmine Gideon

‘Crafting Resistance: the art of Chilean political prisoners’ examines how craftwork made by political prisoners during their internment in the 1970s by the military regime led by General Pinochet has contributed to the mental health and well-being of those involved, particularly following their exile to the UK. The film engages with important issues around forced…

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22nd June 2018

Tragedy and Sexuality: Black Narcissus

by Billy Stanton On Friday 15th June the ‘Tragedy and Sexuality’ series at Birkbeck cinema, organised by James Brown and on this occasion introduced by Carmen Mangion, concluded its current program of screenings with the classic Black Narcissus, one of the jewels in the crown not just of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger but of…

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14th June 2018

Ulrike Ottinger: Director’s Statement on Chamisso’s Shadow

Across the weekend of July 20th-22nd we will be presenting the UK premiere of Chamisso's Shadow in partnership with The Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM), the Goethe-Institut and LUX and with support from the Open City Documentary Film Festival, and in association with the German Screen Studies Network. Below, reproduced from…

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11th June 2018

BIMI Children’s Film Club: Lotte Reiniger

by Billy Stanton Saturday 9th June saw the return of the Children’s Film Club to Birkbeck Cinema with a special presentation of six fairytale animations from German film-maker Lotte Reiniger, hosted and presented by Esther Leslie. Screened were Puss in Boots (1954), Aladdin and the Magic Lamp (1954), Cinderella (1954), The Sleeping Beauty (1954), Hansel…

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