Introducing the BFI's new Japan season

14 May 2020

6 mins
Spirited Away
Spirited Away

On 11 May 2020, the BFI launched BFI Japan 2020: Over 100 Years of Japanese Cinema; a celebration of Japanese cinema that holds significant educational potential for young people of all ages. Check out more details below as well as some great input from our Youth Advisory Council on their favourite Japanese films!

Whilst originally planned to run in UK venues, the BFI have adapted to the current COVID-19 situation by programming nine online collections of Japanese films on BFI Player from May-October 2020, covering everything from filmmaking icons to contemporary visionaries and the upcoming generation of exciting creatives. This is together with a complementary digital events programme on BFI YouTube (more details to be revealed soon) and the promise to continue the season in cinemas when they eventually reopen.

The BFI's nine thematic collections are as follows: Akira Kurosawa (11 May), Classics (11 May), Yasujiro Ozu (5 June), Cult (3 July), Anime (31 July), Independence (21 August), 21st Century (18 September) and J-Horror (30 October). 

The season will also feature a prominent Archive component and on October 12 the BFI National Archive will release an extensive collection of early films of Japan dating back to 1894. These include travelogues, home movies and newsreels that can give your students great insight into Japanese life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as well as its portrayal by both Japanese and European filmmakers.

For more details on the content of the season, upcoming DVD/Blu-ray releases, a new Japanese Cinema Book and the plan for when cinemas reopen, head to the BFI website.

In honour of BFI Japan 2020, some members of our Youth Advisory Council have shared their thoughts on their most beloved films from Japan. For any young person interested in the season but unsure where to begin, this can provide the perfect jumping off point:

Frankie (10) - England

Lucas (12) - Wales

Cameron (15) - Northern Ireland

Seren (15) - Wales

Oliver (16) - Scotland

Maddie (17) - England

Some of these films such as Throne of Blood and Seven Samurai are part of the collections already available on BFI Player and can be watched for free thanks to the BFI's new Thank A Teacher Day (Wednesday 20 May) offer. In celebration of the day, the BFI are offering all teachers an additional free month on BFI Player Subscription. To redeem the code, all you need to do is sign up here, select your chosen subscription and add the code THANKS2TEACHERS.

Into Film will be supporting and celebrating the season in a variety of ways throughout the year including new blogs, film guides, film lists and a strong presence at the Into Film Festival - stay tuned for more updates on these soon!

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