May 3, 2022

Belfast (2021)

Belfast is a 2021 British/Irish coming-of-age drama film written and directed by Kenneth Branagh. The film stars Caitríona Balfe, Judi Dench, Jamie Dornan, Ciarán Hinds, Colin Morgan, and newcomer Jude Hill. The film, which Branagh has described as his "most personal film", follows a young boy's childhood in Belfast, Northern Ireland, at the beginning of The Troubles in 1969. The film received seven nominations at the 94th Academy Awards, including Best Picture, winning for Best Original Screenplay. It was named one of the best films of 2021 by the National Board of Review.

A nine-year-old boy must chart a path towards adulthood through a world that has suddenly turned upside down. His stable and loving community and everything he thought he understood about life is changed forever but joy, laughter, music and the formative magic of the movies remain.
Freddy and Krasnaya Movie Review

K: Kenneth Branagh filmed Belfast as a story of his childhood that he spent in Northern Ireland in the 1960s. Throughout the whole story, he speaks with us through 9-year-old Buddy. Its childish cuteness attracted and touched me. He shows us the world of a person who shares his memories of places where the trees were big, the sun shone brighter, people were kinder, everything was divided into black and white, and the unfamiliar screen world beckoned with unknown possibilities. That's why you don't feel fear or sadness during this movie, even when it touches on a really hard time in the history of Ireland.

F: And welcome to our first entry of our first themed week. This is the first movie I'm watching by Kenneth Branagh; a fictional memoir, a black and white distant memory, and a great homage to Irish people who went through 30 years of "Troubles".

Buddy marching Belfast
Tough little fella 😂
K: The operator (Haris Zambarloukos) did an amazing job! We can see how he loves the city of Belfast and its urbanism. Also, I liked the creative use of different perspectives in the movie. All of this is accompanied by beautifully selected music.

F:  Yes, the play with perspective was really interesting. I remember the scene where his father is discussing with Colin Morgan's character and all you see is his back and tall stature. That image took me back in time. I can remember when I saw things like that. The world was a big place and adults were giants. Since we are in the mood, I will share with you a thing I used to think about when I was a little kid. I thought the world before the 80's was really in black and white, like I saw from photographs and old movies. The sun didn't exist, and when it finally appeared, it brought color with it. I thought that when I was about 5 or something. Anyway, back to the movie. Unlike you, I wasn't a big fan of the music apart from those parts where the sax came in. There's a large number of songs by Belfast-born and bred, Van Morrison. I'm not a big fan of his music, at least for now. I would like to mention my favorite scene from the movie that I'm posting below. That was a very funny bit and I can see how like Buddy I would be forever thinking about forked roads! That minister  (Turlough Convery) was really good at his manipulative ways.

Protestant priest Belfast
Scary devil stuff 😈
K: The cast is great and all the actors did an amazing job. I loved granny (Judi Dench) and Pop (Ciarán Hinds). They are just charming Irish grandparents. I even wished to have grannies like them. Caitríona Balfe with her touching performance as the mother of the family, who, it seems to me, conveys the ideas of the director himself - about love for the family, for loved ones, for the native nest, where everything is so cozy and sweet, but at the same time about self-sacrifice and the complexity of big decisions and changes.
And, of course, Jude Hill. It was a début for him and I think he did pretty well. He is a very charismatic kid!

F: In this semi-biographical movie, everything seems small, like our main character. Events, streets, people, it was a cozy little world not ready for what was about to come. I enjoyed the movie, but it can be a little boring because it was a little too sweet for my taste. Also, I would like to see perhaps a bit more surrealism. Since we are living a black and white memory of a child, there should be things that wouldn't make sense. Strange proportions and shapes. I don't know, something weird. As our fading memory gets distant, it becomes more dream-like, and this movie feels too plain when it's representing that.

Punching scene Belfast
As we say in Portuguese - "There you go, now you had lunch."
K: For me, Belfast is about nostalgia, about remembering the place where you fought dragons and won, about the ones who left and made pubs around the world. I say, this is worth a watch.

Freddy's Score: 54/100
Krasnaya's Score: 65/100





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