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In Ship Shape Jamie Dornan and Catriona Balfe pictured in Belfast for Irish premiere of new movie

The premiere is set to open the Belfast Film Festival

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Caitriona Balfe, Jude Hill and Jamie Dornan pictured at Northern Ireland's iconic Harland & Wolff cranes ahead of the Irish premiere of Ken Branagh's critically acclaimed new film BELFAST. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Caitriona Balfe, Jude Hill and Jamie Dornan pictured at Northern Ireland's iconic Harland & Wolff cranes ahead of the Irish premiere of Ken Branagh's critically acclaimed new film BELFAST. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Caitriona Balfe, Jude Hill and Jamie Dornan pictured at Northern Ireland's iconic Harland & Wolff cranes ahead of the Irish premiere of Ken Branagh's critically acclaimed new film BELFAST. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Jamie Dornan and Catriona Balfe have been pictured at Northern Ireland’s iconic Harland & Wolff cranes ahead of the Irish premiere of their new film BELFAST.

The film, which was written and directed by Kenneth Branagh, is a black and white coming of age story set in1960’s Belfast. The semi-autobiographical tale chronicles the life of a working-class family and their young son's childhood during the troubles.

The critically acclaimed film will open The Belfast Film Festival in the city tonight.

Ahead of the festival, director Branagh said: “I am fortunate to have attended film festivals throughout the world for this most personal of films, but it was always my hope that we might be invited to bring Belfast home. To be included as a part of the Belfast Film Festival is a great honour for us.”

“This year’s festival is packed with local talent in all areas of the industry from acting and directing to producing and shows the phenomenal strength of the film industry here.”

Jude Hill stars as Buddy in the flick that has already won a Peoples Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival. Catriona Balfe and Jamie Dornan play his mother and father, with Judi Dench and Ciaran Hinds playing his grandparents.

Belfast native Van Morrison wrote a new song for the film which will be featured alongside eight of his other tracks.

Principal production took place in September 2020 in London, before filming moved to Belfast, and concluded a month later in October.

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Ken Branagh pictured at Northern Ireland's iconic Harland & Wolff cranes ahead of the Irish premiere of his critically acclaimed new film BELFAST. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Ken Branagh pictured at Northern Ireland's iconic Harland & Wolff cranes ahead of the Irish premiere of his critically acclaimed new film BELFAST. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Ken Branagh pictured at Northern Ireland's iconic Harland & Wolff cranes ahead of the Irish premiere of his critically acclaimed new film BELFAST. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Speaking to the New York Times about his new production, Kenneth opened up about leaving Belfast for England during the troubles and admitted he has never discussed the emotional repercussions of his childhood.

“Nothing like that happened, and I think it would have been helpful. What did happen was the family unit and the individuals all sort of closed down and went in on themselves.”

“Maybe there was a fear of talking about it. I think my family had to believe that the sacrifice was worth it, and how flawed as a solution it was or whether it was the right decision never came up. But it must have been under the surface in quite a significant way,” he said.

Branagh said however, that he refuses to call it ‘trauma.’

“I hesitate to use the word in the sense that this little story exists in a place among groups of people who had many, many more traumatic experiences.”

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“This was never spoken about partly because a cardinal sin for my parents was to be suggesting that anything you’d been through was worthy of categorising in such a way.”

“There’s no question that being shaken by the events of that time from my very particular 8-year-old perspective was, yes, I suppose you’d have to call that traumatic,” he added.

“But another cardinal sin was to indulge in your suffering. And yet over the years I’ve thought one doesn’t have to be doing that to go back and try and understand that this was a difficult time, which plenty of other people might recognize as such. Not to elicit pity but to share with them recognition that might be insightful in some way.”

BELFAST is in cinemas from January 21st, 2022.

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