The BFI has today announced highlights of BFI Japan 2020, a major celebration of Japanese cinema set to launch on the 11th May.

Lady Snowblood (1973)

Having originally scheduled to run in venues across the UK from May – September 2020, this newly announced six month season will include the programming of nine e new online collections of Japanese films on BFI Player from May until October 2020.

The season will then also continue in cinemas when they are allowed to reopen later this year into 2021. In response to the ongoing situation, the BFI has also announced it will be launching a complementary digital events programme, to run concurrently on BFI YouTube, with details to be announced soon.

BFI Japan 2020: Over 100 Years of Japanese Cinema is set to include the classics of Yasujirō Ozu, Kenji Mizoguchi and Mikio Naruse, the samurai swordsmen of Akira Kurosawa and the pioneering women of the Golden Age like Kinuyo Tanaka.There will be striking films by post-war New Wave directors like Nagisa Oshima, vivid visions of Anime masters such as Hayao Miyazaki and Satoshi Kon, and the J-horror netherworlds created by filmmakers like Hideo Nakata.

The season is also set to celebrate contemporary visionaries such as Takashi Miike, Takeshi Kitano and Naomi Kawase, as well as highlight the next generation of creatives making waves in Japan, with the chance to see 21st century films which are yet to be made available in the UK. Meanwhile, BFI Japan s will also draw on the BFI National Archive’s significant collection of early films of Japan dating back to 1894, including travelogues, home movies and newsreels, offering audiences a chance to see how European and Japanese filmmakers captured life in Japan in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

Talking about the news Heather Stewart, BFI Creative Director said: “Our audiences love Japanese film; Kurosawa continues to top the BFI’s DVD and Blu-ray label sales charts and our Japanese film seasons at BFI Southbank are amongst our most successful. We were cheered to hear recently Director Bong (Parasite’s Oscar-winning director) encouraging audiences not to let one inch subtitles stand in their way of seeing amazing films. Audiences can begin with the wonderful world of Japanese films which we are delighted to present in a first for the BFI – as a digitally-led season that audiences can enjoy from their own homes, before rolling out on big screens once cinemas are able to reopen.”