Cinema in Manchester and the North

Tom Grieve, Cinema Editor

With the country in lockdown and venues closed, cinemas, distributors and film festivals have had to get creative. From drive-in screenings, to online Q&As and zoom panels, organisations have stepped up, and there are plenty of novel ways to watch movies and engage with wider film culture.

Some films have moved directly to streaming, and while independent-minded services such as BFI Player, MUBI and Curzon Home Cinema have vast libraries to dig into, they are also providing vital platforms for new releases. We’ve enjoyed David Thewlis in Atom Egoyan’s Guest of Honour, the release of Olivier Assayas’ Wasp Network and, brand new this week, Stéphane Demoustier’s The Girl With a Bracelet.

Local venues and festivals have been innovating too. The world-renown non-fiction event Sheffield DocFest has moved online for the time being, with a selection of films and digital events that begs to be explored. Manchester’s HOME has announced that it’s aiming to reopen early September — but for now keep an eye out for online programming. They’ve collaborated with Manchester Met on A City Seen: Dangerous Associations, a free online screening and panel looking at joint enterprise law, young people and racism.

We are so grateful to National Lottery players, The National Lottery, DCMS and Arts Council England for supporting our freelance writers during this crisis. This means that, although venues remain shut and campaigns cancelled, our writers can be reengaged to help arts organisations and artists across the North of England share their online content with our culture-hungry readers.

Here are our picks

More in Cinema

Cinema Until 31 August 2020, from £9.99

Bacurau – Streaming on Mubi

The follow-up to Aquarius from director Kleber Mendonça Filho, this time co-directing and co-writing with long term producer Juliano Dornelles merges sci-fi, the western, Brazilian bandit movies (cangaço) and horror for a highly original and ultra-violent look at a town under siege from a mysterious threat.

Dogs Don't Wear Pants at HOME Manchester.
Cinema Until 20 March 2021, from £9.99

Dogs Don’t Wear Pants – Streaming on Curzon Home Cinema

Heart surgeon Juha has lived life at an unengaged distance since his wife’s passing. And although it is often debilitating, his grief also throws up some rather surprising sexual urges.

System Crasher at HOME, Manchester - director Nora Fingscheidt's distinctive depiction of dysfunction in an under-resourced care system.
Cinema Until 2 April 2021, from £9.99

System Crasher – Streaming on Curzon Home Cinema

Controversial from the moment it premiered in Competition at the 2019 Berlin Film Festival, documentarian Nora Fingscheidt’s fiction feature debut portrays the life of a chaotic and troubled young girl.

Cinema Until 31 August 2020, from £2.49

But I’m a Cheerleader – Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Natasha Lyonne and RuPaul Charles star in Jamie Babbit’s cult 1999 romantic satire.

Cinema Until 31 August 2020, from £5.99

Marriage Story – Streaming on Netflix

Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson excel as a couple whose once enviable union crumbles under the weight of mounting resentments and divergent needs.

Cinema Until 31 August 2020, from £3.49

Knives Out – Streaming on Google Play

Rian Johnson (Brick) assembles an all-star cast in this characteristically intelligent whodunit about a famed southern detective who joins forces with local police to investigate a group of eccentric suspects following the murder of a wealthy crime novelist.

Cinema Until 31 August 2020, from £3.49

Beau Travail – Streaming on Talk Talk TV

Claire Denis’ masterful reworking of Herman Melville is sensual and dangerous.

Cinema Until 31 August 2020, from £3.49

Zodiac – Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

A relentless serial killer is stalking the streets of San Francisco, leaving citizens in a state of panic and baffling the authorities with the ciphers and menacing letters he leaves at the murder scenes.

Cinema Until 31 August 2020, from £1.99

Ash is Purest White – Streaming on Google Play

Set in China’s underworld, Jia Zhangke’s tale of love and betrayal follows a self-sacrificial gangster’s moll as she comes out of prison and sets about tracking down her former lover.

Culture Guides

Family of Lord Alf Morris, image courtesy of Manchester Histories


Art and women’s wrestling, Ancient Akkadian gravesites and invented artefacts – check out this month’s pick of exhibitions from across the north.

Makefest At Home

Families Online

Need some inspiration for online activities and creative family fun? Look no further than our top picks online for families across Manchester and the North.

Poet Sasha Dugdale. Photo by Zima Zima


From book launches to readings and open mics to creative writing workshops, Live Literature Land has taken to online activities and events like the proverbial duck to water.


Discover the best live-streamed concerts, broadcasts, musical activities and exhibitions on offer during the lockdown.

Plastica Galactica: Get Involved


We can’t wait to be back in the stalls again…until then our theatre guide brings online theatre festival fun, a live drive-in musical and interactive performances to enjoy at home.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

We preview the standout classical music events and venues in Manchester.

Higher Ground

Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

Lockdown is in full effect but that doesn’t mean we can’t support our favourite bars, restaurants, brewers and food suppliers. Here’s our guide to the best takeaway and delivery Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

Isolation Broadcast

Online events

Discover the best things to do online from the organisations we love in Manchester and the North.

tours and activities

Tours and Activities

More online inspiration in this month’s tours and activities guide with French lessons, Life drawing and virtual Tours.

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts