Mark Cousins’ love and devotion to film is unquestionable. Cinephile, film maker and occasional critic’s, his greatest work to date is the 15-hour opus The Story of Film: An Odyssey. Subsequently, he’s been involved with several other low budget projects with The Story of Children and Film being the most commercially, and critically, successful. In I Am Belfast he returns to his birthplace, painting a poetic picture of the troubled city.
I Am Belfast is an experimental documentary as seen through the eyes of Belfast herself (Helena Bereen). Beautifully shot by award-winning cinematographer Christopher Doyle and with a soundtrack by David Holmes, the film is not intended to be a simple history of the Northern Irish capital. Mark wanted to evoke the feelings he had growing up in the city, focussing as much on the people as the place.
With The Troubles still overshadowing Belfast’s history, making a documentary which deals with the issues whilst highlighting its rich and vibrant past and present is no mean feat. I Am Belfast tells the story of the city through the eyes of those who’ve lived it, merging documentary footage with interviews, voiceovers and beautiful images. It’s a fitting tribute to a city which has so much to offer but often finds itself overshadowed by past horror.
I Am Belfast is released on DVD by the BFI on Monday.