BFI celebrates Akira Kurosawa with two-month complete retrospective launching 1 January 2023

The BFI has today announced full details of its major celebration of one of the most influential filmmakers of all time, Akira Kurosawa (1910-1998), taking place across the UK during January and February 2023.

KUROSAWA, a two-month complete retrospective of 30 feature films at BFI Southbank, in partnership with the Japan Foundation, co-curated by film director Asif Kapadia and film author Ian Haydn Smith, launches on 1 January 2023 continuing until 28 February 2023.

On 6 January, BFI Distribution re-releases Kurosawa’s ground-breaking RASHOMON (1950) in cinemas UK-wide; the film will also be available to watch on BFI Player. There will be a rare and one-off opportunity on 28 January to see masterpiece SEVEN SAMURAI (1954) on the biggest screen in the UK (65 feet high) at the newly refurbished BFI IMAX. A collection of 15 of the director’s films will be available on BFI Player subscription to enable UK-wide audiences to fully immerse themselves in Kurosawa’s world.

KUROSAWA curators Asif Kapadia and Ian Haydn Smith have laid out the BFI Southbank season in six thematic strands so that audiences can easily explore Kurosawa’s rich and varied filmography, his narrative preoccupations, finely drawn characters and cinematic visual style.

They will be joined by a guest speaker for a season introduction event on 18 January to discuss these key themes and give an overview of the films screening. While celebrating Kurosawa’s samurai and action films, they will also explore the less familiar elements of his monumental filmography.

On the small screen, UK audiences will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in Kurosawa’s work with a collection of these 15 films available to subscribers on BFI Player, along with MIFUNE: THE LAST SAMURAI (2016). Directed by Steven Okazaki, the on and off-screen character of Toshiro Mifune, who appeared in 16 Kurosawa films, is explored in this illuminating documentary.


·         DODES’KA-DEN

·         IKIRU


·         HIGH AND LOW


·         RASHOMON

·         RED BEARD



·         STRAY DOG

·         I LIVE IN FEAR

·         YOJIMBO

·         SANJURO


Running alongside the BFI Southbank season is a six-week course, ‘The Kurosawa-Effect’, (Wednesdays 11 Jan – 22 February). Led by Professor Stacey Abbott, the course will examine the richness of Kurosawa’s work and his lasting global legacy through his dynamic visual style; innovative storytelling; revitalised approaches to genre and adaptation. It will also look at his preoccupation with themes of family, society, and honour.

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