BFI programme highlights announced for 2020

Here’s what’s coming up in the BFI programme next year, including details of our Japan blockbuster and seasons dedicated to Federico Fellini, Tilda Swinton and Abbas Kiarostami.

La dolce vita (1960)

La dolce vita (1960)

The BFI today announce highlights of our public programme for 2020 including the BFI’s annual UK-wide Blockbuster season JAPAN, and key seasons taking place at BFI Southbank, at venues across the BFI Film Audience Network (BFI FAN) and on BFI Player in the coming year.

The BFI blockbuster season this year takes place at BFI Southbank and across UK Wide BFI FAN venues in spring/summer: JAPAN will be a major celebration of Japanese cinema and will coincide with the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Meanwhile, BFI Southbank will host major celebrations of actors and directors including: FEDERICO FELLINI (Jan-Feb), TILDA SWINTON (Mar), ABBAS KIAROSTAMI (Jul-Aug), BETTE DAVIS (Sept-Oct), ROBERT ALTMAN (Oct-Nov), MARLENE DIETRICH (Dec) and SIDNEY POITIER (month TBC). Also at BFI Southbank in 2020 will be a season celebrating REGGAE, reflecting on the musical genre’s rich body of fiction and documentary film; a look at the art of filmmaking through the eyes of women directors in WOMEN MAKE FILM (a season and a BFI UK-wide release); and a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the seminal PLAY FOR TODAY.

Heather Stewart, BFI Creative Director said: “Film and television, probably more than any other art forms, help us understand ourselves and others, other times and other places. In these fractured times, cultural and artistic collaborations between countries are more important than ever. Following major focuses over the last few years on Russian, Chinese and Indian film, the BFI will be celebrating Japanese cinema in all its rich glory – from early rare footage of life in Japan in the late 19th and early 20th century, held in the BFI National Archive – to great classics from Ozu, Mizoguchi and Naruse. From the samurai swordsmen of Kurosawa to the vivid visions of anime masters, from the netherworlds of J-Horror to contemporary filmmakers including Takashi Miike, Takeshi Kitano and Naomi Kawase. Only the BFI can do a blockbuster season on this scale, across the UK and in our flagship venue BFI Southbank and working with partners worldwide.”

BFI UK-wide Blockbuster 2020

JAPAN – May/June/July/August/September 2020
From May – September 2020, the BFI will present a major nationwide season celebrating Japanese film, featuring the great classics of Ozu, Mizoguchi and Naruse, the samurai swordsmen of Kurosawa and the creative dissidents of the New Wave. Vivid visions of anime masters and the netherworlds of J-Horror will be back on the big screen and we’ll also celebrate contemporary visionaries such as Takeshi Miike, Takeshi Kitano and Naomi Kawase. As the world’s attention is on Tokyo for the Olympics over the summer, the season will include spectacular live events, special guest appearances, talks, workshops and fun for families, and the BFI will work in close collaboration with partners to present events and screenings across the UK.

An Autumn Afternoon (1962)

An Autumn Afternoon (1962)

The season will include BFI re-releases, a major season at BFI Southbank and new collections of film on BFI Player, DVD & Blu-ray and in Mediatheques. The season will also draw on the BFI National Archive’s significant collection of early films of Japan dating back to 1897, including travelogues, home movies and newsreels, offering audiences a rare chance to see show how European and Japanese filmmakers captured life in Japan in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Highlights: January – Mar 2020

FEDERICO FELLINI – January/February 2020
January 2020 marks the centenary of one of cinema’s most exuberantly playful filmmakers, Federico Fellini (1920–1993), who BFI Southbank will celebrate with a two-month complete retrospective, including a UK-wide BFI re-release of the era-defining La dolce vita (1960), a special weekend (18-19 January) of events programmed around what would have been the filmmaker’s 100th birthday (on January 20), and a definitive retrospective of his films. A number of films will also be made available to cinemas across the UK, and online on BFI Player.

TILDA SWINTON – March 2020
BFI Southbank will celebrate the work of TILDA SWINTON with a very special season which has been programmed in partnership with the Oscar-winning actor. Swinton, who will appear onstage during the season, is undoubtedly one of the UK’s most prolific actors, repeatedly collaborating with directors like Derek Jarman (The Last of England), Bong Joon-ho (Snowpiercer), Jim Jarmusch (Only Lovers Left Alive), Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel) and Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love). Her incredibly varied career which spans arthouse (Orlando), award-winning dramatic performances (Michael Clayton, We Need to Talk About Kevin), comedy (Trainwreck) and superhero movies (Doctor Strange), will be reflected by this season of her films and will be announced in full in early 2020.

Orlando (1992)

Orlando (1992)

BFI FLARE: LONDON LGBTQ+ FILM FESTIVAL – 18–29 March 2020
BFI FLARE: LONDON LGBTQ+ FILM FESTIVAL returns to BFI Southbank from 18–29 March, showcasing the best new and classic LGBTQ+ films from around the world.

Highlights: April – June 2020

BFI & RADIO TIMES TELEVISION FESTIVAL – 17-19 April 2020
The biggest and most exciting public TV festival in the UK, the BFI & RADIO TIMES TELEVISION FESTIVAL, returns to BFI Southbank for a third year from 17-19 April. The Festival will celebrate the best shows on British TV as well as preview hotly anticipated new work and celebrate our TV heritage. The programme will be announced in February.

THIRST – April 2020
To coincide with the publishing of a new book of essays She Found It at the Movies: Women writers on sex, desire and cinema, BFI Southbank will present THIRST, a season of films which explores women’s secret desires, teen crushes, and one-sided movie star love affairs, flipping the switch on a century of cinema’s male-gaze domination. The editor of She Found It at the Movies, film and culture writer Christina Newland, has programmed the season, which will include screenings, talks and discussions with a full programme being announced in January.

WOMEN MAKE FILM – May 2020 at BFI Southbank, film festivals and selected cinemas
Mark Cousins (The Story of Film: An Odyssey) once more gives us a guided tour of the art and craft of filmmaking, this time through the compelling lens of some of the world’s greatest directors – all women. Women Make Film: A New Road Movie Through Cinema (2019), is told in 40 “chapters”, written and directed by Cousins and narrated by actors including Tilda Swinton, Jane Fonda, Thandie Newton, and Sharmila Tagore. BFI Southbank will host a season of films featured in Women Make Film paired alongside their relevant chapters, shining a light on the work of filmmakers like Pirjo Honkasalo, Márta Mészáros, Ava DuVernay, Sarah Maldoror and Kira Muratova. The film will play at selected film festivals and cinemas across the UK before being released on BFI home entertainment on 18 May.

BFI FILM CLASSICS RELAUNCH – May 2020
The celebrated BFI Film Classics book series relaunches in May 2020 with 20 new releases from authors such as A.L. Kennedy, Camille Paglia and Julian Baggini. Featuring 3 new additions to the collection and 17 reissues, the titles will feature new artwork and forewords and will be published in partnership with Bloomsbury Publishing.

Highlights: July – September 2020

ABBAS KIAROSTAMI – July/August 2020
BFI Southbank will present a comprehensive two month retrospective of the work of the late Iranian filmmaker ABBAS KIAROSTAMI (Certified Copy, Ten, Taste of Cherry) throughout July and August 2020, with titles also available on DVD and BFI Player. Kiarostami, who died in 2016, had a remarkable career that saw him widely acclaimed as one of the most innovative, important, influential and genuinely distinctive filmmakers of the last few decades.

Abbas Kiarostami filming Certified Copy (2010)

Abbas Kiarostami filming Certified Copy (2010)

REGGAE – August 2020
BFI Southbank mark the 40th anniversary of the seminal film Babylon (Franco Rosso, 1980) with a season celebrating REGGAE in August 2020. The highly influential musical and cultural phenomenon reflects a rich body of fiction and documentary film, from The Story of Lovers Rock (Menelik Shabazz, 2011) and Harder They Come (Perry Henzell, 1972) to Rockers (Theodoros Bafaloukos, 1978) and Sprinter (Storm Saulter, 2018).

BETTE DAVIS – September/October 2020
There will be a major season dedicated to the legendary BETTE DAVIS, one of the most fearless and powerful women to come through the Hollywood studio system. As a contract player for Warner Brothers, Davis long-battled for the respect she was due from the studio, eventually suing them, claiming “I knew that, if I continued to appear in any more mediocre pictures, I would have no career left worth fighting for”. Following the court case (which Davis lost) Warners finally began to offer her roles more suited to her talent, and she was soon starring in films like Jezebel (William Wyler, 1938), for which she won an Oscar (she would go on to become the first person to secure 10 Academy Award nominations for acting) and The Little Foxes (William Wyler, 1941), as the malevolent Southern aristocrat Regina Giddens.

After a career lull in her fifties Davis later fearlessly re-invented herself with garish and unsympathetic roles in films like Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte (Robert Aldrich, 1964) and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (Robert Aldrich, 1962), the latter of which inspired the recent TV drama Feud (2017) about the much talked about rivalry between Davis and her co-star Joan Crawford. The season will include a BFI re-release of Now, Voyager (Irving Rapper, 1942), back in selected cinemas UK-wide in September.

The Little Foxes (1941)

The Little Foxes (1941)

Highlights: October – December 2020

BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL – October 7-18 2020
The 64th BFI London Film Festival will run from October 7-18, 2020 at venues across the capital.

ROBERT ALTMAN – October/November 2020
With his irreverent and subversive approach to filmmaking and his boundary-pushing stylistic innovations, ROBERT ALTMAN was one of the leading and most important directors of the post-studio, ‘New Hollywood’ golden age of the 1970s. In October and November BFI Southbank will celebrate his work with screenings of films like McCabe & Mrs Miller (1971), The Long Goodbye (1973), Thieves Like Us (1974), Nashville (1975), MASH (1970), A Prairie Home Companion (2006) and Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982).

MARLENE DIETRICH – December 2020
The year will conclude with a celebration of the iconic actor and singer MARLENE DIETRICH. With a career that spanned the 1910s to the 1980s, Dietrich repeatedly reinvented herself, ensuring she remained one of the most popular actors and performers of the 20th century. The season will include screenings of film like The Blue Angel (1930), Shanghai Express (1932), Stage Fright (1950), Touch of Evil (1958) and Witness for the Prosecution (1957).

Marlene Dietrich

Marlene Dietrich

Also coming to BFI Southbank in 2020:

SIDNEY POITIER – month TBC
CAROLE LOMBARD SEASON – January 2020
ELIA KAZAN SEASON – February/March 2020
FAY WELDON SEASON – January 2020
JESSICA HAUSNER SEASON (see also, LITTLE JOE release) – February 2020
BFI FUTURE FILM FESTIVAL – 20-23 February 2020
RAVI SHANKAR FOCUS – April 2020
MIKE HODGES SEASON – May 2020
WOMAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA SUMMIT – June 2020
MÁRTA MÉSZÁROS SEASON – June 2020
SIGHT & SOUND DEEP FOCUS: POVERTY ROW – June 2020
RAY HARRYHAUSEN CENTENARY EVENTS – July 2020
PLAY FOR TODAY 50TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON – September/October 2020
NEW ARAB CINEMA SEASON – September/October 2020

BFI Southbank is the UK’s national cinematheque and one of the few surviving cinemas regularly showing film on 35mm and 70mm celluloid between its four auditoria. BFI Southbank is also home to the BFI Reuben Library, the biggest film library in the world, the BFI Shop, and BFI Mediatheque which offers free access to 1000’s of film and TV titles, many from the BFI National Archive. With a unique programme of seasons, talks, premieres, festivals and one-off events, BFI Southbank has the world’s biggest names in film in venue and on stage every month. It is also one of the most buzzing venues on the South Bank with the Riverfront bar and restaurant and Benugo Bar and Kitchen, where film and culture lovers come together in their mutual love of cinema.

BFI UK-wide releases in 2020 include:

BFI Release: LA DOLCE VITA – 3 January (part of FEDERICO FELLINI SEASON)
BFI Release: A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE – 7 February (part of ELIA KAZAN SEASON)
BFI Release: LITTLE JOE – 21 February (part of JESSICA HAUSNER SEASON)
BFI Release: WOMEN MAKE FILM: A NEW ROAD MOVIE THROUGH CINEMA – available from May (alongside WOMEN MAKE FILM season)
BFI Release: NOW, VOYAGER – September (part of BETTE DAVIS SEASON)

BFI DVD/Blu-ray releases in 2020 include:

DVD/Blu-ray: BFI Flipside presents COSH BOY
Blu-ray: JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG
DVD/Blu-ray: BAIT
DVD/Blu-ray: SCANDAL
Blu-ray: CYRANO DE BERGERAC
Blu-ray: SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY
DVD/Blu-ray: TONGUES UNTIED
DVD: THE CHILDREN’S FILM FOUNDATION BUMPER BOX VOL.2
DVD/Blu-ray: BEAT THE DEVIL
DVD: WOMEN MAKE FILM: A NEW ROAD MOVIE THROUGH CINEMA
DVD/Blu-ray: LITTLE JOE
DVD/Blu-ray: BEST OF PLAY FOR TODAY VOL.1

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