We contextualize Kenneth Branagh’s newest entry Belfast in his decades long self-mythologising project and discuss “the Branagh scale”
This episode features Editor-in-Chief Alex Heeney, Executive Editor Orla Smith, Associate Editor Brett Pardy, and regular guest Caitlin Merriman
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Belfast (Kenneth Branagh, 2021)
Because Ken Branagh thinks he is endlessly fascinating, he also thinks his childhood is endlessly fascinating, specifically his experience of it….so decades after losing his Belfast accent and posing as posh in everything he does, he’s decided to out his own Belfast roots via this film, which is in black and white — except, of course, for the movies they go to, which are in colour. Set in the late 1960s at the beginning of The Troubles, we follow Buddy (Jude Hill) as his life faces upheaval. His father, Pa (Jamie Dornan), who works in England and comes home some weekends, is being pressured to fight in The Troubles, which makes him try to persuade the family they should all move to England instead. His mother, Ma (Catriona Balfe), has never known anywhere but Belfast and is afraid to leave, whilst also mostly acting as a single mother and being constantly dogged by Pa’s overdue tax bill. And Pop (Ciarán Hinds) gets terminally ill. Along the way, Buddy discovered musicals and westerns…and imagines his parents are living in them.
Belfast is available on VOD
On this Episode
- Related episodes (2:25)
- Why this episode (5:08)
- Branagh and Shakespeare (6:50)
- Branagh’s career overview (16:47)
- Belfast (34:14)
- The Branagh Scale (40:15)
- The Oscar acting clips (42:46)
- Why the film falls short of its potential (43:40)
- Branagh’s “please notice” directing (51:16)
- Self-mythologising (54:39)
- What to watch instead (1:05:15)
- Conclusion (1:22:00)
- Branagh did have one of our 2017’s “most ‘hella tight’ line readings”. See the other choices.
- Ep. 118: The Souvenir Part I and II
- Bonus 19: Who is the Poshest Actor in Britain? (Member’s Only)
- Ep. 69: Paddington and Paddington 2 (Member’s Only)
- Ep. 22: The King attempts to adapt Shakespeare’s Henry V (Member’s Only)