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Belfast, Live Is Life and other titles to watch this weekend

A fond remembrance from Kenneth Branagh, a coming-of-age film set in 1980s Spain, and other weekend viewing recommendations

A still from ‘Belfast’
A still from ‘Belfast’

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Belfast (Amazon Prime)

Director Kenneth Branagh's semi-autobiographical film is a nostalgic look at his hometown Belfast. It opens in 15 August 1969, to a street with row houses where you see an integrated community. This way of life is shattered as sectarian violence rocks the city—The Troubles, which lasted three decades. We see this monochrome world through the eyes of nine-year-old Buddy (Jude Hill), whose parents (played by Jamie Dornan and Caitriona Balfe) are conflicted whether to stay or leave. One character says, "The Irish were born for leaving. Otherwise, the rest of the world would have no pubs." The soundtrack is dominated by Van Morrison, The Healing Has Begun poignantly closing the film. While Branagh has steered clear of politics, anyone who has lost their home and community will be moved by the film. Judy Dench and Ciarán Hinds as the grandparents transport you to a different time.—Nipa Charagi 

Also read: When you can't ‘skip intro’

Live Is Life (Netflix)

Directed by Dani de la Torre, the film is set in 1985. Like every summer, teenager Rodri is spending the vacation at his grandparents in Galicia—shot beautifully with its sweeping vistas—and friends Álvaro, Garriga, Maza, and Suso.  Things are different this year: Álvaro is battling cancer and Suso's father is in coma after an accident. They decide to hike to the mountains to look for a flower which is said to have medicinal properties—a sort of coming-of-age road trip. While it lacks a storyline and some twists and turns are incredulous, it is blissful in the way only childhood summer vacations can be.—NC  

The Batman (Amazon Prime)

After a round of theatres earlier this year, The Batman is now on streaming. The film, we wrote in our review, “is dark and ominous. The opening hour of the nearly three hour long film has a more graphic/comic book style of shot taking and editing but the visual style changes along the way but cinematographer Greig Fraser’s shot taking, lensing and lighting remains stunning throughout, even during the damp squib of a climax.”

Anything’s Possible (Amazon Prime) 

Anything’s Possible revolves around Khalid, a shy 17-year-old, who has a crush on Kelsa, a transgender girl in his art class. Like most feel-good teen films, it only superficially explores the issues faced by its protagonists before returning to its manicured, sunny center of gravity. Often, the film’s ideas about Gen-Z and its dependence on the digital world are grating, yet they’re also used cleverly at times. Clips of Kelsa using her personal YouTube channel to talk about her love of animals, her experiences on hormone blockers or vent about dating as a trans girl help contextualise her character.—Angela Mathew 

Good Luck Jerry (Disney+ Hotstar)

Siddharth Sen’s black comedy is a remake of the Tamil film Kolamaavu Kokila. It’s about a woman whose desperate circumstances compel her to enter the world of drug smuggling. Janhvi Kapoor stars, and is supported by Mita Vashisht, Deepak Dobriyal, Sushant Singh.  

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