Although Kenneth Branagh has experienced a lot of misfires in his career up to this point, it seems like his latest film Belfast is far from one. With multiple nominations for top awards pouring in as well as glorious reviews, Branagh has taken the next step in his career despite the fact that he is running back to an Agatha Christie adaptation for his next project.
Intended as a coming-of-age drama, Belfast is a deeply personal film for Branagh as it focuses on his own experiences of growing up in Northern Ireland during The Troubles. The director claimed that it was almost 50 years in the making, calling the time he left Belfast as the most critical point in his own life which had a definitive impact on him.
Although he knew what he wanted to make, the greatest challenge for Branagh was figuring out how to go about writing such a project. The method had eluded him for years but it suddenly became clear to him during the Covid-19 lockdowns which forced us all to shut ourselves in and reflect on our own lives and the nature of our existence.
In a recent interview, Branagh noted that he still maintained a special connection to Belfast even though the place was no longer tied to his professional career. He felt a calling and when he went back to Belfast almost a decade ago, he could still feel the atmospheric conflicts that he remembered experiencing as a child.
Branagh explained this feeling by saying: “When I went back in 2011 I still felt as though there was a sort of identity crisis that was unresolved. Ireland and the Irish define so much of themselves in relation to home – it needs to be settled in some way. And I think making this film is a chance for me to go home in a sort of more honest way.”
Watch the latest trailer for Belfast below.