I am Belfast is a unique film about a notorious city, Northern Ireland’s capital. Opening with filmmaker Mark Cousins saying that he met a 10,000 year old woman who claims she is the city itself. She becomes our unpredictable guide. At first she shows us fun things – the way people talk, visual surprises. But then her story deepens. She turns the clock back, unafraid of tragedy. She’s good at forgotten, shocking detail. It’s like she’s remembered everything, with x-ray vision.
With the evocative imagery of cinematographer Christopher Doyle, and a haunting new score by David Holmes, Cousins moves beyond the conventional portrayal of Belfast in the movies – as thriller, or hard man place – and shows, instead, the women and the dream life of Belfast. Magic realist with gritty truths and some flights of fantasy, Mark Cousins’ film is influenced by Soviet cinema, popular song, and the storytelling of his grandmothers, and grandmothers everywhere.