BELFAST WON OSCAR'S BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY. WHAT'S THE FILM ABOUT?
Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast won the Best Original Screenplay at the 94th Academy Awards. The film is about the childhood of Buddy and his family, set in Belfast before the Troubles.
Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast is set in North Belfast in the year 1969, with the outbursts of sectarian violence across Northern Ireland set as a background conflict. The event is now recognized as the start of the Troubles, a 30-year conflict between the nationalists and unionists that left scars still far from healed.
Although the conflict was primarily political and nationalistic, it possessed a sectarian dimension that took place between the Protestants and the Catholics. Even if Belfast is not about the Troubles per se, the historical event is the main premise that drives the story.
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The main character Buddy, played by Jude Hill, is an elementary schooler who comes from a Protestant family. He lives with his Ma (Caitriona Balfe), Pa (Jamie Dornan), older brother Will (Lewis McAskie), as well as Pop and Granny (Ciarán Hinds and Judi Dench).
Buddy’s family lives in a working-class neighborhood of Belfast in the 60s. Everything is peaceful until the conflict sweeps Buddy’s neighborhood with riots that are intended to scare off Catholics.
Militia leader Billy Clanton, played by Colin Morgan, is the one character involved in the organizing of riots and lootings. He approaches Pa several times asking for “cash or commitment” in exchange for Buddy and Will’s safety. Naturally, Pa refuses to give either. Despite coming from a Protestant background, Buddy’s clan despises the “gangsters” kickstarting the unrest.
With the escalating conflict in mind, Pa implores ma to consider a relocation.
That is the main dilemma of the film. Every main character loves Belfast deeply. They love the neighborhood, they love the people, they love the city so much, and they don’t want to leave. However, the violence leaves them no choice, even though Granny decides to stay.
Is it any good?
Belfast is a memento of Branagh’s childhood memories. It is meant to depict how living in Belfast prior to the Troubles was like, but that doesn’t mean the whole film is gloomy and depressing. Belfast is full of crackling jokes, but it has its fair share of tense moments as well. It has happy sweet moments, but it doesn’t leave the heart-breaking scenes either.
The contrasts between the characters are really fun to watch too. Take Pa and Ma who are immaculate and spartan, then there’s Pop and Granny who are lovable laid-back pranksters living with them. Let’s not to ignore the contrast between Buddy who is innocent and gullible and his older friend Moira (Lara McDonnell) who is manipulative and reckless.
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Coming up with the idea for these characters and their interactions alone deserves an applause. But how it is packed with brilliant directing, cinematography and sound design, that makes Belfast an instant classic.#THE S MEDIA #Media Milenial #Belfast #Oscar #Best Original Screenplay