Prolific actor, writer, director Kenneth Branagh has an impressive range of cinematic adaptations in his filmography. A master of interpretation and intonation, he has brought his talents to bear on Shakespeare, Agatha Christie and even the Marvel Universe. But for his latest feature, he takes on a story much closer to home, his childhood growing up during in 1960s Belfast. The portrait of a family and a community at a crossroads is his most personal, heartfelt and accomplished work to date.
Young Buddy (Jude Hill) lives a charmed life, sheltered from the challenges his charismatic Ma and Pa (Jamie Dornan and Caitríona Blafe) and doting grandparents (Ciarán Hinds and Judi Dench) faced around him. His tight-knit world revolves around playing with neighbours on the street and trying to catch the eye of the most beautiful girl in his class. But as Buddy tries to make sense of the sectarian violence that has begun to divide his close-knit community, his parents have some difficult decisions about the family’s future.
Gloriously shot in black and white, with the sounds of Van Morrison as a backdrop, this film is infused with potent memories and emotion for its creator. Working with long-time collaborators, production designer Jim Clay, director of photography Haris Zambarloukos, and editor Úna Ní Dhonghaíle, Branagh tells a story that balances cheeky humour and energy with pain and loss perfectly.
Nominated for seven Oscars this year, including Best Picture and Best Director.