In Belfast, Kenneth Branagh has written and directed the most personal film of his career so far.  Set in 1969, the film revolves around a working-class Protestant family, through the eyes of nine-year-old Buddy (Jude Hill). Buddy’s father Pa (Jamie Dornan) takes a job across the sea in England, leaving Buddy, his brother Will, Ma (Caitríona Balfe), Granny (Judi Dench), and Pop (Ciarán Hinds) in Belfast.

As The Troubles begin to flare up across the country, Ma and Pa struggle with a life-changing decision – to stay in their home city or leave it behind.

Key themes:

Family

Family is the film’s beating heart. Buddy is close to his loving grandparents, cousins, brother and parents. Every decision Ma and Pa make is to keep the family safe, together. Pop makes a point of how different it would be to leave, telling Buddy, “You’re Buddy from Belfast, where everybody knows you. The whole family looks out for you.”

Home and Community

Belfast is the only home Buddy, Will, and Ma have ever known. The film captures an idealistic, nostalgic view of a tight-knit community where children can play together on the streets, and everyone looks out for one another. That is, until The Troubles break out.  

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Political Unrest

Car bombs, lootings, and riots are recurring motifs throughout the film as The Troubles escalate throughout Northern Ireland around Buddy and his family. Police presence, army tanks, and intimidation are woven expertly around the cozy themes of home and family.

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Key scenes:

The Whole Rigamarole

Amidst the conflict and rising tensions,, Buddy’s young heart is stolen by his classmate, Catherine, who happens to be Catholic. In this sweet scene, Buddy asks Granny and Pop how to talk to her.

 

"There's a whole world out there"

Pa works in England where there are more opportunities for well-paid work. When the chance for a new job overseas presents itself, he and Ma must decide what’s right for their family – staying in the city they love, or leaving behind Granny and Pop for an entirely new life.

“The Irish were born for leaving. Otherwise the rest of the world would have no pubs.”

Everlasting Love

Apart from the political turmoil, the 60’s was a seminal decade for art, culture, and music. In one key scene, Pa serenades Ma with Robert Knight’s 1967 hit “Everlasting Love” in front of a cheering crowd. The aesthetics are beautiful, and would look really striking in a digitally illustrated poster... just saying.

We can't wait to see which themes and scenes you weave into your work!

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