If Kenneth Branagh‘s black-and-white, semi-autobiographical Belfast (11.12) is Focus Features’ only serious Oscar contender, which is what they seem to regard it as, why would they decide to have the world premiere at the faint-pulse, seen-better-days Toronto Film Festival?

It’s nothing to be especially disturbed about — all films open in their own time and in their own way and pace. Before today I somehow hadn’t grasped that Belfast is in black-and-white.

Directed and written by Branagh and based on his Belfast childhood in the late’60s, the film has been described as “the humorous, tender and intensely personal story of one boy’s childhood during the turbulence [of this period]” — aka “the troubles.”

The costars are Jude Hill, Jamie Dornan, Judi Dench, Caitriona Balfe and Ciaran Hinds.

Branagh: “I hope that there is humor and I hope that it’s emotional. It’s a look at a people and a place in tumult through the eyes of a nine-year old movie-mad kid.

“My experience of Belfast when I was growing up was to be part of a larger extended family, one that lived nearby each other, in a world in terms of television that had three channels in black and white. We listened to radio extensively, listened to records extensively and we went to see films extensively and when we weren’t doing that, we visited each other.”