Mark Cousins’ dreamlike evocation of his home city drives far beyond its overfamiliar political story to find a capital of rich history and startling beauty.
Our guide is not Cousins himself, but a 10,000-year-old lady who claims to be the spirit of the city itself, taking us on a journey through the city’s rich, complex and often tragic history. Cousins’ talent, in collaboration with cinematographer Christopher Doyle, is in finding visions of beauty amid the seemingly mundane, composing painterly pictures interspersed with film clips and archive footage. The evocative soundtrack by great Belfast DJ and film composer David Holmes (Ocean’s Eleven, Hunger, ‘71) mixed with Cousins’ poetical narration give the film its dreamlike quality. From wandering through the streets, meeting jaunty pensioners Rosie and Maud, to the horrors of the Troubles, I Am Belfast is an impassioned, politically engaged and inventive love letter from Cousins to his hometown.