Free screening of ‘I am Belfast’ film this Thursday…

If you have not seen it yet, ‘I am Belfast’ is a visually wonderful and unique film. Mark Cousins’ tribute to his home city is both a treat for the eyes and thought-provoking.

The basic concept is to imagine Belfast as a 10,000 year old woman. We follow her as she travels through Belfast and reflects on the history of the locations she visits. What I liked about the film was that it made you see Belfast in a whole different light. Locations I am familiar with took on a new life when viewed through the outside eyes of Cinematographer Christopher Doyle. It does sound a bit arty, but really the film is very accessible and enjoyable. For more details of the film Alan has a good write up on his blog…

The film is being screened this Thursday as part of the 4 Corners Festival. The film’s producer, Lisa Barros D’Sa, will do a Q+A after the screening. The location is the very appropriate First Presbyterian Church on Rosemary Street. This is one of Belfast’s oldest churches with the Congregation founded in 1644, and the present building being completed in 1783.

You can register for the free screening on Facebook…

Disclaimer: I helped organise this event.

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  • MainlandUlsterman

    Cousins is wonderful. I haven’t seen this yet as – how Northern Irish of me – I baulked at the £10 on the BFIPlayer website. But I will go for it at some point.

  • Steve

    How can Belfast be viewed through the eyes of a 10,000 year old woman, when the bible and certain political parties tell us that the earth is only 4,000 or so years old ? :o)

  • Brian O’Neill

    As the late great Gerry Anderson once said, “the world being created 6000 years ago must have been a big shock the the Egyptians.”

  • Brian

    There is also a post in the Slugger archive that would be worth linking to.

    It includes this quote from an interview with Cousins

    Humanity, Cousins contends, ‘is full of warmth and coldness, violence and compassion. We’ve got a mix of all of that. We haven’t even hidden it very well, it’s right there on the surface. Belfast isn’t behind the door, it isn’t shy.’

    In truth, that conclusion is all too familiar in Northern Ireland, a sad reality that Cousins decided to face rather than whitewash. At the centre of I Am Belfast is its notional guide, a 10,000-year-old woman (Helena Bereen), the city in human form, who wanders its avenues, soaking in its essence. She mourns the cruelties that her citizens wrought upon each other and for the residue of such pain.

    Cousins acknowledges that to have avoided addressing the past seemed futile. ‘We just need to be honest with ourselves… We really have to admit that the Troubles were so recent that it’s still in our unconscious mind, a wound that is still healing. In fact, when you stop fighting, you are amazed at how bad things got.

    ‘We did terrible things,’ he continues. ‘It should bubble up, in our minds, in our hearts, in our sadness. In the middle of the joy, modernity and new tolerance that we have, we have to allow a bit of space to acknowledge that creature from the Black Lagoon, that sense of, “Wow, did we really do that? Were we that inhuman?” Yes, we were.’ [added emphasis]

  • And more from Mark Cousins talking to Mark Kermode about ‘I am Belfast’.