This symposium aims to evaluate and situate Kenneth Branagh’s film authorship within the ecosystem of contemporary British cinema.
The release of his avowedly autobiographical account of his childhood, Belfast (Branagh, 2021) marks a watershed moment in Kenneth Branagh’s directorial career and an opportunity to consider his conflicted status in the British, Irish and Hollywood film industries as both a multi-talented renaissance man and a perpetual pretender to the status of national treasure.
Branagh’s career acts out and exposes the faultlines and tensions within British cinematic identities, as it straddles art-house and popular cinema, high cultural icon Shakespeare and mass-market middlebrow Agatha Christie, Englishness and Irishness. His eclectic filmography as director merges with his work as an actor both on stage and screen and his work as a theatre director, expanding and complicating how we understand his authorship. Moreover, Branagh’s conflicted relationship to a theatrical lineage imagined as embodied by stars such as Laurence Olivier writes his persona as a site of continued struggle and negotiation concerning masculinity and cultural identity in contemporary Britain. The emphasis on repeated new beginnings throughout his career, from the title of his autobiography to the name of his theatre company, rubs up against a powerful pull from the past.
The symposium will take place on Wednesday 22 June 2022 in Belfast, 9.30am - 17.30pm, followed by a wine reception and is organised by Jennifer Barnes (University of Dundee), Kat Flint-Nicol (Queen's University Belfast), and Fiona Handyside (University of Exeter). We will be visiting the QUB-based Branagh archive and there will be a screening of a Branagh film at the QFT on the evening of Tuesday 21 June. Non-speakers will need to purchase tickets for the screening.
Everyone is welcome, but non-speakers are asked to pay a symposium fee of £10.
With thanks to BAFTSS (British Association of Film, Television, and Screen Studies) and School of Arts, English and Languages, Queen's University Belfast for supporting and funding this event.
Full programme to follow.
'All non-speakers are asked to register for the event by paying the £10 symposium fee via following link
Kenneth Branagh, Renaissance Man? A symposium. (qub.ac.uk). Registration for non-speakers is open until Friday 17th June.
If you are coming to stay in Belfast please see some Accommodation Options
For all enquiries, please contact Katerina Flint-Nicol firstname.lastname@example.org