|UK Release Date||Friday, 08 April 2016|
|Cast||Helena Bereen, Richard Buick, Shane McCaffrey|
I am Belfast is a unique film about a notorious city, Northern Ireland’s capital. It begins with filmmaker Mark Cousins saying that he met a 10,000 year old woman who claims that she is the city itself. She’s full of conviction. She becomes our unpredictable guide. At first she shows us fun things – the way people talk, the visual surprises in the city. But then her story deepens. She turns the clock back and is unafraid of tragedy. She’s good at forgotten detail, shocking detail. It’s like she’s remembered everything, like she has x-ray vision. Using the evocative imagery of celebrated cinematographer Christopher Doyle, and a haunting new score by David Holmes, the film moves beyond conventional portrayal of Belfast in the movies – as thriller, or hard man place – and shows, instead, the women of the city and the dream life of Belfast.
Neither straight drama nor documentary, I am Belfast might best be described as magic realist. It has gritty truths and some flights of fantasy. Mark Cousins’ film is influenced by Soviet cinema, popular song, and the storytelling of his grandmothers, and grandmothers everywhere.