In case you haven’t noticedaround these parts, TIFF starts up on Thursday, and, shockingly enough, there’s a ton of interesting titles in the festival line-up (expect more trailers in the lead-up to Thursday, because what use is a big festival premiere if you can’t spread the hype around a little bit). One of those is Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast, which looks to be the filmmaker’s response to Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma, a clear-eyed, stylish look back at Branagh’s childhood with the distance provided by fiction. Focus Features dropped a trailer for the film earlier on Tuesday, and it looks quite lovely.
Take a look:
Here’s a synopsis, though we’ve chosen to take the one from the TIFF website rather than the boilerplate that Focus Features has provided, given how much better it describes the project’s ethos:
“In his three decades of filmmaking, Kenneth Branagh has ushered us into Henry V’s campaign at Agincourt, Thor’s celestial chambers on Asgard, and murderous intrigues aboard the Orient Express. Branagh’s latest work unfolds in a much more real-world and familiar setting for the prolific actor, writer, and director. Named after the city of his birth, ‘Belfast’ is Branagh’s most personal — and most affecting — film yet.
A coming-of-age drama set during the tumult of late-1960s Northern Ireland, the film follows young Buddy (Jude Hill) as he navigates a landscape of working-class struggle, sweeping cultural changes, and sectarian violence. Buddy dreams of a glamorous future that will whisk him far from the Troubles, but, in the meantime, he finds consolation in his charismatic Pa (Jamie Dornan) and Ma (Caitríona Balfe), and his spry, tale-spinning grandparents (Ciarán Hinds and Judi Dench).
Its story rooted in blood ties, ‘Belfast’ is also a family affair behind the scenes, as Branagh reunites with many long-time collaborators, such as production designer Jim Clay, director of photography Haris Zambarloukos, and editor Úna Ní Dhonghaíle. Together they’ve crafted a film that is characteristically meticulous in its evocation of a particular place and time, while Branagh’s superb cast fill every scene with energy, idiosyncrasy, and heart.”
Belfast will premiere at TIFF later on in the week, though we won’t be able to see it due to the more frustrating aspects of the digital festival: Geoblocking (all of you Canadians better count your lucky Tim Horton’s donuts since you can be there in-person this year). For the rest of us, we’ll get to see Belfast when it arrives in theaters on November 12.