I Am Belfast is one of those films that you feel part of.
It helps when you’re watching it in the same city in which it was filmed.
Belfast has a dark past and a bright future. Fondly referred to as the Big Smoke, it’s a city often represented by big yellow cranes. It’s celebrated as the birthplace of George Best, CS Lewis and that bloke who kept a lion as a pet, and most recently it’s been given an fairly scathing TripAdvisor review by Games of Thrones star Kit Harington.
Few times in Belfast’s history has it been compared to a 10,000 year old woman. But that’s how director Mark Cousins sees the city in which he grew up, a city full of strong female role models.
In his documentary style film he tells the story of Belfast, cataracts and all, with Helena Bereen acting as our 10,000 year old tour guide.
Within minutes you’re immersed in the storyscape thanks to the inclusive and awe-inspiring camera work from Christopher Doyle.
The x-rated dialogue of silver-haired cross community buddies Rosie and Maud is one of the film’s memorable moments, with the extreme close-up shots adding another dimension to their conversation in a Belfast coffee shop.
It’s a film of varied colour and texture, but never disjointed. There are clips of Belfast in happy times, in Troubled times and looking ahead to a time when the last bigot is laid to rest.
This distinctive film is boosted by a stand-out soundtrack from David Holmes whose score sets the tone for this brooding portrayal of a city that is both salt and sweet.
The premiere of I Am Belfast took place in Movie House Dublin Road on Thursday, April 17.
To buy tickets for any of the events at Belfast Film Festival go to belfastfilmfestival.org or call 02890 246609.