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

Lewis McAskie, Caitriona Balfe, Kenneth Branagh, Jamie Dornan and Ciaran Hinds with Jude Hill in front as they attend the Irish premiere of the film Belfast at the Waterfront Hall, Belfast

The film officially opens on Friday but there will be special screenings on Thursday evening as the film bows out in the province after having already opened in cinemas around the world.

Although Branagh’s semi-autobiographical film was nominated for seven Golden Globes, it won just one best screenplay award at Sunday night’s closed-door ceremony.

American actress Mia Farrow, who saw Belfast this week, tweeted: “Through the eyes of a little boy, Kenneth Branagh ushers us into a family as each do their best to overcome the worst of ‘troubles’. “. What a rich, heartbreaking, important film! Icing on the cake to see Judi Dench in the role of Granny.

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

The film, which won 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 Grandma and Ciarán Hinds in his grandfather.

The film is an exploration of the value of family life in the face of the storm that became The Troubles – the one that drove Branagh’s own family out of town.

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

Meanwhile, to tie in with NI’s Belfast exit, BBC NI have announced a new program featuring Sir Kenneth Branagh.

It will include the only television interview filmed when he returned to his hometown last November for the red carpet premiere.

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

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

He also discusses his own childhood experiences of being caught up in riots as a spectator and participant, his parents’ zest for life, and how his departure from the city marked him deeply. This is combined with footage from the film ‘Belfast’.

The program also features footage from red carpet events in London and Belfast in which viewers will see the impact of “Belfast” on the world of cinema.

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

Branagh: Bringing Belfast Home is on BBC One NI, Tuesday January 25 at 10:35 p.m.

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