Following an online launch on BFI Player in 2020, the BFI’s major celebration of Japanese cinema arrives on big screens UK-wide, with highlights including a BFI re-release of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai from 29 October.
The BFI has announced the return of BFI JAPAN 2021: 100 YEARS OF JAPANESE CINEMA, coming to cinemas UK-wide from October – December 2021.
Highlights of the celebration will include a BFI re-release of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (1954); a two-part season at BFI Southbank focusing on the Golden Age of the studio system and the rise of the radical New Wave and independent filmmakers of the later 20th century; special events and screenings of great Japanese films at cinemas UK-wide; and a film programme on BFI Player.
Originally scheduled to run in venues across the UK from May – September 2020, the BFI moved the season online by programming an unprecedented number of Japanese films on BFI Player while cinemas across the country remained closed, resulting in films in the BFI JAPAN collection being streamed on BFI Player in excess of 400,000 times since then. After the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo come to a close this summer, the BFI picks up the torch to shine a light on 100 years of Japanese cinema this autumn, as well as into 2022, when BFI Southbank will programme a two-month season to celebrate the art of Anime (April – May 2022), with more details to be announced soon.
BFI JAPAN will spotlight one of the world’s greatest cinematic traditions, one that has long inspired admiration and fascination among audiences and creatives the world over. Classic films by Akira Kurosawa, Yasujirō Ozu and Kenji Mizoguchi regularly rank at the very top of critics’ all-time lists; Studio Ghibli leads the animated world in visionary imagination; while waves of innovators from the cinematic rebels of the 60s to today’s audio-visual live artists and video game auteurs take the moving image to thrilling new places.
The influence of Japanese cinema cannot be overstated – Kurosawa in particular influenced Sergio Leone’s A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS – an often shot-for-shot remake of YOJIMBO (1961) and SEVEN SAMURAI (1954) was adapted into John Sturges’ THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN and influenced films including Quentin Tarantino’s KILL BILL and George Miller’s MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. George Lucas has long acknowledged Kurosawa’s influence on STAR WARS, from the narrative and thematic elements to costumes and names and, more recently, video game GHOST OF TSUSHIMA, in which players can adopt ‘Kurosawa mode’, pays loving homage to the master filmmaker.
For a breakdown of the BFI Japan events, download the full press release.