Buzz about Branagh’s Belfast ahead of film’s Northern Ireland screenings

Excitement is building ahead of the first Northern Ireland public screenings of Sir Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast film next week.

Friday, 14th January 2022, 6:06 pm
Updated Saturday, 15th January 2022, 7:38 am
Lewis McAskie, Caitriona Balfe, Kenneth Branagh, Jamie Dornan and Ciaran Hinds with Jude Hill in front as they attend the Irish premiere of film Belfast at the Waterfront Hall, Belfast

The film officially opens on Friday though there will be some special screenings on Thursday evening as the film makes its bow in the Province having already opened in cinemas around the world.

Although Branagh’s semi-autobiographical film had been nominated for seven Golden Globes, it only picked up one award for Best Screenplay at the behind closed doors ceremony on Sunday night.

US actress Mia Farrow who saw Belfast this week tweeted: “Through the eyes of a little boy, Kenneth Branagh brings us inside one family as each person does their best to weather the worst of “the troubles”. What a rich, wrenching, important film! Icing on the cake to watch Judi Dench as Granny.”

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Belfast tells the story of nine-year old Buddy, played by Jude Hill, whose childhood is impacted by the social and political tumult of the late 1960s.

The film, which picked up the prestigious People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival in late 2021, also stars Jamie Dornan as Buddy’s ‘Pa’, Caitríona Balfe as Ma, Judi Dench as Buddy’s grandmother and Ciarán Hinds as his grandfather.

The movie is an exploration of the value of family life in the face of the gathering storm that became the Troubles – one which led to Branagh’s own family to leave the city.

The film had its Irish premiere at the Waterfront Hall in November, but Northern Ireland movie fans have had to wait until this week to see the film set in 1960s Belfast.

Meanwhile, to tie in with the NI release of Belfast, BBC NI has announced a new programme profiling Sir Kenneth Branagh.

It will include the only television interview filmed during his return to the city of his birth last November for the red carpet premiere.

The film, written and directed by Branagh sees him return to his roots in the city of his early childhood.

In ‘Branagh: Bringing Belfast Home’, he talks at length to Kathy Clugston about his new film – what drove him to write it, working with the actors and even his refusal to water down the Belfast accent for international distribution.

He also discusses his own childhood experiences of being caught up in rioting as both bystander and participant, his parents’ zest for life and how leaving the city left a deep mark on him. This is combined with footage from the film ‘Belfast’.

The programme also features footage from red carpet events in both London and Belfast in which viewers will see the impact ‘Belfast’ is having on the film world.

The 30-minute film also shows some of the many hours of BBC archive following Branagh’s rise to the very top of his field.

Branagh: Bringing Belfast Home is on BBC One NI, on Tuesday, January 25 at 10.35pm.

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