5 Things You Didn’t Know About Kenneth Branagh’s Film ‘Belfast’
The American Cinematheque recently hosted a tribute to legendary filmmaker Kenneth Branagh. The tribute featured screenings of four films that are featured in his latest film Belfast, a semi-autobiographical love letter to his hometown, and culminated in a Belfast screening followed by a Q&A with writer and director Kenneth Branagh.
Belfast tells the story of a nine-year-old boy whose life is turned upside down when rioting breaks out on his street between the Protestants and the Catholics in 1969. Though the film is placed in a time of violence and uncertainty, the tone is as light-hearted and lovable as the adorable protagonist Buddy. (You can read our full Belfast review here). The film has received seven Academy Awards nominations including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Directing. Here are five facts that we learned about Belfast from the writer and director Kenneth Branagh.
The Belfast screenplay was 50 years in the making
When Kenneth Branagh was asked “how long did it take you to write the script?”, he replied “8 weeks and 50 years”.
The screenplay for Belfast was written during the beginning of the pandemic. Like many of us during lockdown, Branagh was faced with a desire to understand who he is and the time to process suppressed memories. In a fit of creative fervor, Branagh spent hours in his garden shed writing down childhood memories on notebook cards.
“The goal was to be as sort of unimpeded by anything other really than my own creative instinct.”
These memories were soon fashioned into scenes, and in a mere eight weeks, the screenplay for Belfast was written.