Kenneth Branagh’s ‘Belfast’ gets UK premiere amid Oscar buzz
The story revolves around nine-year-old Buddy and his family, who live in a working-class neighborhood of North Belfast where Protestants and Catholics coexist.
Bobby’s happy boyhood days come to an abrupt end in 1969, at the start of Northern Ireland’s three decades of strife known as the “Troubles,” when tensions flare in rioting on his doorstep and money and health difficulties threaten the serene family life within.
“It’s a story that happened to me really when I was about nine years old and it changed my life forever when a moment of violent change affected my identity and my home and my family and this is the story of that change,” Branagh told Reuters on the red carpet, adding that reliving the memories while making and promoting the movie “was and is very emotional”.
Buddy knows nothing except Belfast, and to his horror, his parents, played by Jamie Dornan and Caitriona Balfe, begin to consider a fresh start elsewhere. His grandparents, played by Judi Dench and Ciaran Hinds, help him maintain a feeling of normalcy when his life is flipped upside down.
“I know what that means, to put family first. My whole ethos and my whole life I’ve put my family first,” Dornan, who grew up on Belfast’s outskirts, agreed.
“Belfast,” which won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, has emerged as an early Oscar candidate.
“At the moment, we are so happy that the film looks like it might reach an audience, that it’s punching above its weight,” said Branagh, 60, when asked about the Oscar buzz.
“Finding an audience is the main thing. Anything north of that is a dazzling piece of fairy dust.”
“Belfast” hits theatres in the US on November 12.
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