MIFF 2013 – The Broken Circle Breakdown (2012)


Director: Felix Van Groeningen
Starring: Veerle Baetens, Johan Heldenbergh, Nell Cattrysse, Geert Van Rampelberg, Nils De Caster, Robbie Cleiren, Bert Huysentruyt, Jan Bijvoet, Blanka Heirman

I was looking forward to this one as it was one of the only trailers I managed to watch before the festival and I know a lot of musicians who play locally including several Bluegrass bands.

The main story follows Didier (Johan Heldenbergh) and the love of his life Elise (Veerle Baetens) and their little daughter Maybelle (Nell Cattrysse), but it is not a straight forward story. It does jump around in time a lot and only tells you it is doing so the first couple of times, then you have to work it out for yourself by paying attention to the character’s hair or clothes so it really makes you take notice of the story.

What I most liked about the movie is that I recognised not only many of the same situations and things that friends would do in the situation, I also started to think my friends were in it, which is impossible given it was set seven years ago and fictional.

It is not for me to judge the character’s actions in the situations they are presented with, but when someone says something is “too hard” they really mean they don’t want to do it for whatever reason. Didier gets into trouble for being entirely too rational in every situation when other people want to believe something different.

I cannot fault the actors and Veerle Baetens as Elise (later Alabama) reminds me of several people I know, right down to the legally changing her name as she felt the new one suited her better.

The other thing that I loved about the film was the music, all Bluegrass standards played by the actual actors in the movie who have gained enough fame as the “Broken Circle Breakdown Band” that they are doing a tour playing the same songs as in the movie over the next year or so (http://www.thebrokencirclebreakdown.be/en/music/concert)

I will try to get the soundtrack when it comes out on CD and would recommend that you go to see this movie when it comes out in your area, even if you do not really go to see dramas that often.

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