Red Carpet: Exclusive Photo of Kenneth Branagh at 57th Chicago International Film Festival

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CHICAGO – Kenneth Branagh may be the ultimate hybrid. Hie reputation as an actor is beyond the pale … he is a performer that makes a film or stage play better. But beyond that, he has just directed his 23rd and most personal film. “Belfast” is an elegy to his hometown, but it is also a remembrance of when his life changed profoundly at the tender age of nine. Kenneth Branagh presented “Belfast” to an audience at the 57th Chicago International Film Festival on October 21st, 2021. He was photographed on the Red Carpet by Joe Arce.

The film is a memoir and a memory, fictionalized and stylized. In 1969, young Buddy (Jude Hill) witnesses the a quick and violent riot in the war between Catholics and Protestants in Belfast, Northern Ireland. This changes the dynamic in his family, as his Pa (Jamie Dornan) and Ma (Caitriona Balfe) are at a crossroads regarding staying in the city. Buddy is bereft at the possibility of this action, as he is very close to his Granny (Judi Dench) and Pop (Clarán Hinds). But time and street violence march on, and the family that has the city in its blood is feeling the strain.

Kenneth Branagh at the 57th CIFF, October 21st, 2021
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for

Sir Kenneth Charles Branagh went from Belfast to the Royal Academy of the Dramatic Arts in London. He actually achieved early notoriety by portraying Billy in a set-in-Belfast trilogy called “Play for Today.” His stage career blossomed through his interpretations of Shakespearian roles, and although his first film was an uncredited role in “Chariots of Fire,” he broke out big time with his directorial debut, Shakespeare’s “Henry V.” Besides further adaptations of the Bard’s “Much Ado About Nothing,”“Hamlet” and “As You Like It.” Branagh has also notable acting roles in “Dead Again,” “Celebrity,” “Wild Wild West,” “My Week with Marilyn,” “Dunkirk,” and as Hercule Poirot in “Murder on the Orient Express” and the upcoming “Death on the Nile.” He also distinguished himself in the Marvel Universe by directing the original “Thor” (2011).

Trailer for “Belfast” …

”Belfast” will be released in theaters on November 21st, 2021. Featuring Kenneth Branagh, Belfast, Jamie Dornan, Caitriona Balfe, Jude Hill, Clarán Hinds and Judi Dench. Written and directed by Kenneth Branagh. Rated “PG-13” senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2021 Patrick McDonald,

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