Born precisely in the capital of Northern Ireland, Kenneth Branagh has shot in black and white a film with some autobiographical overtones, about the childhood of a movie-crazy boy, Buddy, in this city in the late 1960s, when riots broke out . He plays the protagonist of Belfast the young Jude Hill, accompanied by leading actors such as Caitriona Balfe, Ciarán Hinds, Jamie Dornan, Judi Dench. Belfast opens in the UK on November 12, so it will be released before Death on the Nile, previous film shot by the actor and director, continuously delayed by the coronavirus, which is supposed to arrive in the United States on February 11.
The soundtrack is composed of songs by Van Morrison, also a native of this location. The famous musician has composed a new song for Belfast, where eight of his best-known works of the time in which the action is located also sound. Everything indicates that it is a film with many nostalgic elements, and careful reconstructions of the scenarios.
“It portrays my experience in Belfast as a child,” explains Kenneth Branagh, who soon left the place, but believes that his years there were decisive in forging his personality. “I was part of an extended family, in which we lived close to each other, when we had three black and white television channels. We listened to the radio a lot, we listened to records a lot and we went to see a lot of movies. When we weren’t doing that, we visited each other. “ The filmmaker had been meditating for a long time about the possibility of filming his childhood, but it was during the confinement of the coronavirus that he realized that the time had come. “The confinement reminded me of the fragility of our lives,” he says. “I felt compelled to revisit this time.”
He wrote the script himself, which he showed first to his two brothers. “They gave me a lot of support,” acknowledges Kenneth Branagh. “But my sister was surprised that being such a reserved man has opened up so much to me.” Belfast It is a tribute to the Seventh Art. “The cinema, for me, was a place where the screen enveloped you so much that, in those moments, you could forget,” he says. “You could feel safe, away from the chaos.” When the protagonists go to a room, the images turn into color. “I have chosen to show titles that excited me then, such as A million years ago and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang“.
For now, there are few titles that may have a chance for the next awards season. Apparently at festivals they could compete with Belfast titles like Nightmare Alley, by Guillermo del Toro, The Power of the Dog, the Jane Campion, CODA, remake of The Aries familia, by Sian Heder, Spencer, by Pablo Larraín, or Duneby Denis Villeneuve. In the remainder of the year there could be surprises, such as West Side Story, a new version of the musical, directed by Steven Spielberg. In any case, Kenneth Branagh could finally get thanks to Belfast the coveted Oscar as director or screenwriter, after five nominations.
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“Belfast”, by Kenneth Branagh, first film that sounds strongly for the Oscars 2022