4 - 11 November 2020

4 – 11 November: available to watch online
Wednesday 4 November, 6.00pm: communal viewing
Wednesday 4 November, 8.00pm: live online discussion with Fiona Tan, hosted by Ben Harman

Directed by Fiona Tan 
2016, Japan / Netherlands
80 mins, Cert PG, English and Japanese
with English subtitles
SDH subtitles available

A western female writer and her Japanese correspondent, Hiroshi, narrate a metaphorical journey up the mysterious Mount Fuji in Japan, crossing geographical, temporal and cultural divides. Made entirely with stills, Fiona Tan’s Ascent has been referred to as a photo-film, balanced between documentary and fiction, photography and film.

Successive images of Mount Fuji – spanning the history of photography as well as Japanese and western art and popular culture – inspire the narrators to uncover different paths up the mountain, and to muse on the significance it holds within Japanese history, religion and philosophy.

In the words of David Campany, Ascent offers the viewer ‘a rich weave of associations that are personal, poetic, historical, scientific, anthropological, military, geological, political, literary and artistic. Ascent is a bowl for images, a vortex of images, with Mount Fuji at its centre.’




Fiona Tan is a visual artist and filmmaker who lives and works in Amsterdam. She is best known for her skillfully crafted video and film installations, in which explorations of memory, time, history and the role of visual images are key. Her installations and photographic works have been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions in international venues. She has written and directed two feature length films to date.


Watch Glasgow Film Festival’s Q&A with Director Rúnar Rúnarsson

Read BFI’s review of the film by John Bleasdale

Watch Echo via MUBI Library (requires subscription) 

Against a clear, dusky sky, a large solitary farmhouse is engulfed in flames. A dark black smoke plumes upwards and leans left, blown by the wind. Dotted across the frozen hillside in the fore and middle ground are several onlookers. The nearest, a solitary man in a pale jacket, stands centre right with his back to us, taking a photo of the burning house on his smartphone.

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Our Autumn Screenings at Home programme is supported by Film Hub Scotland, part of the BFI’s Film Audience Network, and funded by Screen Scotland and Lottery funding from the BFI