If you caught the trailer for Netflix’s Western The Harder They Fall, you’ll know why it’s one of the most hotly-anticipated films due to land in the second half of 2021. From London-based director Jeymes Samuel, it looks to be a slick, stylish, playfully violent wild west tale, with an incredible cast boasting Regina King, Idris Elba, LaKeith Stanfield, Zazie Beetz, Delroy Lindo and Jonathan Majors, and a producer in none other than Shawn Carter – otherwise known as Jay Z. And before it hits screens later in the year, it’s receiving its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival 2021.
Samuel’s film will open the festival on Wednesday 6 October this year, a month ahead of its Netflix streaming release on 3 November. “It’s a great honour that The Harder They Fall will have its World Premiere opening the 65th BFI London Film Festival,” says Samuel. “Growing up in the UK, the Festival has always been the highlight of my year and I couldn’t have imagined anything better than to have my debut film included in this year’s line-up.”
Tricia Tuttle, the festival director, adds: “Jeymes Samuel has come out with both guns blazing with his lightning-paced, witty and phenomenally entertaining new western, The Harder They Fall. This is brutal and funny genre filmmaking, sometimes making you chuckle and gasp in the same breath, while each of its mega stars absolutely burns up the screen, working to a cleverly written script from Samuel and Boaz Yakin that reveals the tenderness even in the darkest villainous heart. It’s rare for a debut filmmaker to pull off something this ambitious and accomplished in their first feature and Samuel knowingly tips his hat to cinematic forbearers, but also delivers a film which is inventive and uniquely his own.”
This year’s festival is due to take run from 6 to 17 October, with the full programme launch coming on 7 September. As well as London-based screenings, the festival is due to include a selected programme screening with UK-wide cinema partners, and a range of films available to screen digitally on the BFI Player.