Japanese Films at the BFI London Film Festival 2020

BFI London Film Festival Logo

2020 has knocked everyone sideways, not least film fests across the globe, many of which went virtual to protect audiences from Covid-19. This year’s London Film Festival follows many others in being a virtual event as well as having physical screenings in Loondon. It runs from October 07th to the 18th and viewers across the UK will be able to access all of the films wherever they are. Reflecting the other tumultuous events of this year, specifically the long-ignored issue of racial justice, there is a substantial presence of black filmmakers, a traditionally under-served demographic, that is finally getting their chance to shine.

In terms of Japanese films there are none. We get the first episode of a TV show. This lack of films is rather ironic considering 2020 is the year that the BFI is going all in on its Japanese movie coverage to leverage any and all interest in the now-postponed Tokyo Olympics but I guess it’s another sign of a Covid-19 casualty.

Here’s what is programmed (click on the title to be taken to the corresponding festival page):

A Day-Off of Kasumi Arimura    A Day-Off of Kasumi Arimura Dorama Image

有村架純の撮休Arimura Kasumi No Satsukyu

Release Date: March 20th, 2020

Duration: 42 mins.

Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda

Writer: Sakura Higa (Script), 

Starring: Kasumi Arimura, Jun Fubuki, Shinnosuke Mitsushima


This is the first of an 8-part TV series that aired from March to May this year. The series had a variety of directors like Satoko Yokohama (The Actor) and Rikiya Imaizumi (Just Only Love) involved in imagining what real-life actress Kasumi Arimura does on her days off.

Synopsis: As is his style, Hirokazu Kore-eda (Our Little Sister, Distance, After the Storm, Shoplifters) weaves a fiction from reality and blends the two in a playful drama that shows what Kasumi Arimura returning home and her mother showing off her famous daughter to friends and neighbours.

This episode was the first filmed and it features, yes, Kasumi Arimura, one of the leads in the fantastic zombie film I Am a Hero (2016), joined by Jun Fubuki (powerful in Kiyoshi Kurosawa movies Seance (2001) and Charisma (2000) and Shinnosuke Mitsushima (Hanagatami (2017)).

Other Kore-eda films I have reviewed include:

The Third Murder

Still Walking

Like Father, Like Son


That’s it for now. I’ll update it if any other films are added.

Tickets went on sale yesterday.

Here’s past coverage of the London Film Festival:

London Film Festival 2011

London Film Festival 2012

London Film Festival 2013

London Film Festival 2014

London Film Festival 2015

London Film Festival 2016

London Film Festival 2017

London Film Festival 2018

London Film Festival 2019

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