Belfast, it’s a city that ís changing, changing because the people are leaving? But one came back, a 10,000 year old woman (Helena Bereen) who claims that she is the city itself.
‘I Am Belfast’ is Mark Cousins unique film about an infamous place, and this woman we meet becomes our free spirited walking tour guide. At first she shows us fun things – the way people talk, unusual vantage points, fragments of the city’s visual landscape.
Starting in the here and now, with the everyday, we move on to the dream life of the city, mapping the voices of women and the liminal spaces, the unnoticed and the unloved things about this place. But then her story deepens. She looks back and she sees the tragedy and the horror of what went before. She remembers everything….
Taking in the sense of the city in a way not seen before. ‘I Am Belfast’ presents a stunning new lens through which to view our city, while challenging the well worn cinematic cliches that have gone before in its cinematic history; the grisly thriller, the across-the-barricades romance amongst others.
Using the distinctive lensing of the great cinematographer Christopher Doyle (‘In the Mood for Love’, ‘Rabbit-Proof Fence’), and a haunting new score by composer David Holmes (‘71’, ‘Hunger’), we see Cousins’ influences, inherently cinematic, but all the while underscored by the influence of the grandparents, the mothers, the brothers and the women of the city he comes from.
Not a conventional drama, Not a documentary either, ‘I Am Belfast’ is matter-of-fact and then fantastical. But its mostly fantastic.