As a director, Kenneth Branagh has never been afraid to tackle big subjects. He is known for his Shakespeare adaptations (notably with “Hamlet” in 1996)… but also for his surprising appearances in films like Christopher Nolan’s Tenet. This year, the British actor, director, screenwriter and producer decided to tackle an even more daunting subject: his own childhood. For this, he shot the film “Belfast”, which will be released on November 12 in theaters. Much anticipated, it brings together a prestigious cast: Jamie Dornan, Caitriona Balfe, Judi Dench and Ciarán Hinds. As for the story, “Belfast” tells the story of Kenneth Branagh’s difficult childhood, spent in Northern Ireland in the 1960s… A historical film, already considered for an Oscar next year!
Buddy (played by Jude Hill) is a 9 year old boy with a vivid imagination. However, life in Belfast is far from easy. He and his family live a daily life marked by the “Troubles”. A context marked by the tearing apart of the loyalist and republican communities, but also Protestant and Catholic. The city evolves in a climate where fear and barbed wire are everywhere.
However, Buddy’s family and his parents (played by Jamie Dornan and Caitriona Balfe) manage to make the most of the ambient context, in favor of great moments of joy and love, defying the gloom with love and humor.
The film, which was produced by Focus Features and debuted at the Telluride Film Festival on September 2, will screen at the upcoming Toronto Film Festival next week before hitting the big screen on December 15, 2021 in France.
Shot in black and white, “Belfast” is already shaping up to be an emotionally charged film. Moreover, the artistic scope of Kenneth Branagh has the merit of arousing enthusiasm: everyone expects a brilliant film, orchestrated with finesse and know-how.
Moreover, the fact that the director tells his own story crystallizes the interest of the spectators even more. Not to mention the nature of the subject matter: talking about a family living in the sectarian era of the Troubles can only be fascinating… whether for the Irish or the rest of the world!
Kenneth Branagh himself describes the project as “the most personal of his career. It will have required more than 50 years of reflection and preparation before it is carried out.”
And the result already seems to be there. Thus, the first screening at the Telluride Film Festival met with critical acclaim. For many journalists, “Belfast” could well be multi-awarded in the coming year.
Kenneth Branagh offers exceptional character development, plenty of laughs and humor, and a heartbreaking ending that could melt the coldest of hearts,” said Clayton Davis of Variety magazine.
Enough to make you want to push the door of the dark rooms to make up your mind!
You can watch the trailer for Branagh’s highly anticipated drama Belfast below: