Sir Kenneth Branagh says lockdown gave him a 'fresh perspective'

Branagh's 'fresh perspective'

Sir Kenneth Branagh found a "fresh perspective" on The Troubles in Northern Ireland amid the COVID-19 lockdown.

The 61-year-old actor spent "about 50 years" agonising over how to approach the subject, before he directed 'Belfast', the drama film that tells the story of a working-class family in the 1960s.

He shared: "Basically, I didn't want to just be staring at my own navel.

"It wasn't personal therapy, it was really to see whether the story of a family in a difficult situation - where humour and all the other coping mechanisms we come up with to try and deal with difficult times - could speak to other people.

"This lockdown promoted that, I think, because the introspection and the feeling unsettled that we've all shared really drove me back to that time."

Branagh chose to tell the story through the eyes of a child, as he didn't want the film to become a political piece of work.

He told Sky News: "We chose to have the point of view of a nine-year-old boy and, in so doing, we didn't cop out, I don't think, but we avoided trying to get into what you might call politics in the overt sense.

"I've gone back and I've identified some key real experiences, the riot that I was part of, the looting of a supermarket that I got dragged into, various other minor criminal activities, like trying to steal Turkish delight, which failed entirely.

"It's not to be so naive, it's not to be infantilized or simply nostalgic or sentimental, but sometimes to try and look at the world, or maybe a very familiar or even over-familiar problem like The Troubles, from a fresh perspective and cinema - at this end of my career anyway - gave me a chance that I thought was very unusual from a position of authenticity."

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