The family in the film Belfast standing with luggage in front of a mural that is a map showing ways to leave Northern Ireland

Branagh’s Belfast

Posted by Speakeasy News > Monday 14 March 2022 > Ready to Use Shine Bright Lycée

Belfast is the story of nine-year-old Buddy growing up in the Northern Irish capital in a friendly, working-class community until the Troubles brutally disrupt his life in 1969. The film and these activities will help the students discover more about the Northern Irish conflict and its human consequences. It is actor-director Kenneth Branagh‘s most personal film yet.

Though Ireland may be synonymous with green luxurious landscapes, traditional dances, legends - and many more-  Northern Ireland somehow rhymes with conflicts in the collective unconscious. Teachers all have in mind images of “The Troubles”, tanks, the Army patrolling the streets, but for students this may be a new sight.

What did it feel like for a little boy living in Belfast, in the early 70s? With insight and hindsight, Kenneth Branagh – the Belfast born and raised actor and director known for his roles in Shakespearian plays– offers a personal vision of the Belfast of his childhood marked by huge changes that led his parents to take a life-changing decision.

This article (and the film) can be studied alongside Shine Bright AMC File 17 Borderline et Shine Bright LLCER File 20 The Irish art of exile, and Speakeasy Files Conflct in Northern Ireland. LLCER students who are studying Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing as one of their oeuvres intégrales could find this a useful addition to their portfolio.

Vocabulary and structures

  • conflict, war: looting, riots, civil war, demonstrations, protest…
  • relationships: love, hatred, congenial, friendly, close-knit, loving…
  • making decisions: to be in a quandary, face dilemma…
  • linkwords: opposition (yet, nonetheless, nevertheless…), comparing and contrasting (contrary to, on the contrary, while…)
  • preterite/ present simple


  • Branagh /brænə/
  • Northern Irish accents

You can ask pupils to watch the trailer and featurette on this page.

What's On See the related news
> In the Streets of Belfast
Webpicks Useful websites and online tools for classroom use
> Teaching with Films: Belfast
> In Conversation with Kenneth Branagh
Ready to Use Downloadable resources ready to use in class
> Death on the Nile
> Murder on the Orient Express