en English
ar العربيةzh-CN 简体中文nl Nederlandsen Englishfr Françaisde Deutschit Italianopt Portuguêsru Русскийes Español
Les actualités

Branaghs Belfast gets UK premiere as Oscar buzz grows – Reuters

LONDON, Oct 13 (Reuters) – Actor and filmmaker Kenneth Branagh takes audiences to the city of his birth and his childhood with the semi-autobiographical comedy drama « Belfast » which had its European premiere at the London Film Festival on Tuesday.

The mainly black-and-white film centres around nine-year-old Buddy and his family, who live in a working-class neighbourhood of North Belfast where Protestants and Catholics live side-by-side.

Set in 1969 at the onset of Northern Ireland’s three decades of conflict called the « Troubles », Bobby’s carefree childhood days come to an abrupt end when tensions erupt in riots on his doorstep, and money and health issues threaten the tranquil family life indoors.

« 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 ».

Belfast is all Buddy knows and to his horror, his parents, played by Jamie Dornan and Caitriona Balfe, begin to contemplate a fresh start abroad. As his life is turned upside down, his grandparents, portrayed by Judi Dench and Ciaran Hinds, help maintain a sense of normalcy with their warmth and wit.

« I know what that means, to put family first. My whole ethos and my whole life I’ve put my family first, » said Dornan, who grew up in the outskirts of Belfast.

Since winning the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, « Belfast » has become an early Oscar frontrunner.

« 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 » opens in U.S. cinemas on Nov. 12.

Reporting by Hanna Rantala; Editing by Karishma Singh

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.