The Juniper Tree

The Barbican has unveiled a new video streaming service offering patrons the opportunity to enjoy specially-curated films from the comfort of their own homes. Cinema On Demand, which launched earlier this month, kicks off with a series of independent works from across the globe, including an early highlight in Nietzchka Keene’s 1990 feature ‘The Juniper Tree’.

Set in medieval Iceland, ‘The Juniper Tree’ stars a pre-fame Björk in her debut film role, as a girl whose mother has been killed for committing witchcraft. Shot in grainy black-and-white, this independently-funded feature unfolds at a meditative pace befitting of the original Brothers Grimm fairytale, with Keene’s direction maintaining an eerie and brooding atmosphere throughout.

This newly restored version of the film is presented with an accompanying poetry recital by Annie Hayter, whose work is inspired by the mythology, nature and landscape of Iceland. The Nordic island feels like a character in itself in the movie, with scenes capturing the Northern Lights and the Seljalandsfoss waterfall providing some memorable moments of imagery.