The 65th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express is thrilled to announce that the international premiere of George Clooney’s much-anticipated The Tender Bar has been added to the 2021 programme. Starring Ben Affleck, Tye Sheridan and Lily Rabe, the film will premiere at the Southbank Centre in Royal Festival Hall with Clooney expected to be in attendance. 

Also added to the programme is Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash from Indonesian director Edwin, a dizzying film adaptation of Eka Kurniawan’s acclaimed novel about an impotent aspiring assassin. 

The festival also announces the first of its 2021 Screen Talk line-up, which is supported by The Liberation Initiatives, with acclaimed directors Jane Campion, Asghar Farhadi and Ryusuke Hamaguchi joining Succession creator Jesse Armstrong and Norwegian actor Anders Danielsen Lie for a series of in-person talks about the careers of some of the industry’s key talents, both in front of and behind the camera. Most Screen Talks are expected to take place live at the festival and then be made available post-event via BFI YouTube, while others are planned as online-only presentations via YouTube and BFI social channels. 

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The festival is delighted to welcome Academy Award-winner Jane Campion back to London on the occasion of her dark and captivating The Power of the Dog, this year’s BFI LFF American Express Gala. She’ll cover a number of career highlights with a focus on her latest work. Acclaimed British screenwriter and producer Jesse Armstrong joins the festival to discuss his impressive career in television and film, as well as the upcoming third season of the Emmy award-winning hit Succession, screening at the festival on Friday 15 October, and actor Anders Danielsen Lie will join audiences to discuss his work, including two new films in the festival: Mia Hansen-Løve’s Bergman Island and The Worst Person in the World, the final part of Joachim Trier’s Oslo trilogy. 

Director Ryusuke Hamaguchi, who helms two of the films in this year’s Festival, Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy and Drive My Car, will take part in a Screen Talk, made available to audiences via YouTube and BFI Facebook, to discuss these Silver Bear and Cannes best screenplay-winning films along with his wider filmography, and Academy Award-winning director Asghar Farhadi will return to the festival to explore his captivating Cannes Grand-Prix winner A Hero as part of a wider look at his impressive career. A Hero screens at the festival on Monday 11 October.

Further Screen Talks will be announced shortly alongside the LFF for Free programme of free events including talks and debates, short film screenings and unique VR experiences.


New additions to the programme

The Tender Bar

Sunday 10 October, at the Southbank Centre in Royal Festival Hall, 21:10. Screening in Love.

Director George Clooney. Producers Grant Heslov, George Clooney, Ted Hope. With Ben Affleck, Tye Sheridan, Lily Rabe. USA 2021. 105min. UK distribution: Amazon Studios

JR is a boy without a name and a father. At least, that’s the story according to many of the adults outside of his family. But when his mother moves back into her childhood home, JR’s charismatic bar-owning Uncle Charlie (Affleck) is determined the boy doesn’t see himself that way. Based on the memoirs of writer JR Moehringer and elegantly adapted for the screen William Monahan (The Departed), Tender Bar is a poignant reflection on the ways in which the right influence, at just the right time, can have a profound impact. Fueled by the sounds of Jackson Browne, Golden Earring and Steely Dan, and with period-perfect design from an exceptional production team, Clooney’s impressive drama also features Tye Sheridan as an older JR, reflecting back on his childhood, while newcomer Daniel Ranieri is a revelation as the budding young writer. Lily Rabe and Christopher Lloyd round out the terrific lead cast.

Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash 

Saturday 16 October, Curzon Soho, 21:15. Screening in Dare.

Director Edwin. Producers Meiske Taurisia, Muhammad Zaidy. Screenwriters Edwin, Eka Kurniawan. With Marthino Lio, Ladya Cheryl. Indonesia-Singapore-Germany 2021. 114min. Sales: The Match Factory.

Language: Indonesian with English subtitles

Combining elements of retro East Asian fight cinema, raunchy sex comedies, ghost stories and all out romance movies, this utterly distinctive, weirdly moving film focuses on Ajo (Lio) a moody gangster intent on proving his worth by assassinating a local gangster. But when Ajo meets troubled bodyguard Iteung (Cheryl), a softer side to this young man emerges, an initially knockabout connection morphing into something more romantically physical. The only snag is that Ajo is impotent, just one of many obstacles the new couple must face as they hurtle into an uncertain, unpredictable and violent future. Constantly evolving narratively and tonally, prolific director Edwin’s beautifully shot and performed film fires along at breakneck pace, unfolding its complex, thematically rich story with real elegance, energy and strikingly sincere emotion. A truly unique film.

How to book

Tickets go on general sale on Friday 24 September at 16:00. Priority booking opens for BFI Patrons and Champions at 11:30 and BFI Members at 12:30.

As a thank you for their continued support, we’re delighted to be able to offer BFI Patrons, Champions and Members a pair of free tickets for the international premiere of George Clooney’s The Tender Bar. These complimentary tickets are subject to availability on a first-come, first-served basis.

The 65th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express takes place from Wednesday 6 October to Sunday 17 October, 2021. 

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