BFI Japan 2020 will celebrate over 100 years of Japanese cinema

BFI Japan 2020 will celebrate over 100 years of Japanese cinema

The BFI today announces highlights of BFI Japan 2020: Over 100 Years of Japanese Cinema, a major celebration of Japanese cinema launching on May 11. Originally scheduled to run in venues across the UK from May – September 2020, the BFI has responded to the current situation by programming nine new online collections of Japanese films on BFI Player from May – October 2020. The season will continue in cinemas when they are able to reopen, hopefully later this year and into 2021. The BFI will also be launching a complementary digital events programme, to run concurrently on BFI YouTube, with details to be announced soon.

BFI Japan will feature the great 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 films by post-war New Wave directors like Nagisa Oshima, Anime greats such as Hayao Miyazaki and Satoshi Kon, and the J-horror creations of filmmakers like Hideo Nakata. The season will also celebrate contemporary visionaries such as Takashi Miike, Takeshi Kitano and Naomi Kawase, as well as spotlight 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. The season 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 rare chance to see how European and Japanese filmmakers captured life in Japan in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. BFI Japanwill bring great works from over a century of cinema back to audiences across the UK, as well as spotlighting leading film and moving image creatives today.

Heather Stewart, BFI Creative Director, said: "Japan has one of the richest cinematic traditions in the world, acclaimed for fusing the finest craftsmanship with an audacious and experimental spirit, and distinctive social and cultural histories with popular forms and genres. The BFI has a long term special relationship with Japanese cinema: we opened the very first BFI London Film Festival in 1957 with Kurosawa's Throne of Blood and, in the same year, presented a landmark celebration of Japanese film at the National Film Theatre (now BFI Southbank). The BFI London Film Festival has since consistently introduced UK audiences to new Japanese filmmaking talent, and we have presented retrospectives at BFI Southbank of the work of Kurosawa, Mizoguchi, Oshima, Ichikawa, Ozu and Kore-eda, as well as a hugely popular celebration of Women in Japanese Melodrama.

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."

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