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The Broken Circle Breakdown
★★★☆☆
First run Theater cinema

The Broken Circle Breakdown is a messy and convoluted melodrama that nevertheless manages to keep the viewer connected to its central characters as they experience love and loss in many forms. Call it Scenes From a Belgian Bluegrass Marriage --the non-linear story gives a scrambled but near complete play-by-play of moments both joyous and tragic in the marriage of banjo playing Didier and tattoo lovin’ Elisa. The film is based on a play co-written by star Johan Heldenbergh, and perhaps its elliptical structure worked better on stage. As a film, the narrative is often muddled by the disjointed presentation, and the potentially interesting subtext of Europeans co-opting and rejecting American culture and values gets a little bit lost. However, the picture always comes together when the characters are making music. The Flemish leads Heldenbergh and Veerle Baetens have incredible singing voices and their Appalachian harmonies are worthy of comparison to American bluegrass legends Alison Krauss and Dan Tyminski.

Directed by Felix Van Groeningen
Produced by Dirk Impens

Screenplay by Carl Joos and Felix Van Groeningen
Based on the play The Broken Circle Breakdown Featuring the Cover-Ups of Alabama by Johan Heldenbergh and Mieke Dobbels

With: Johan Heldenbergh, Veerle Baetens, Nell Cattrysse, Geert Van Rampelberg, Nils De Caster, Robbie Cleiren, Bert Huysentruyt, Jan Bijvoet, and Blanka Heirman

Cinematography: Ruben Impens
Editing: Nico Leunen
Music: Bjorn Eriksson

Runtime: 111 min
Release Date: 01 November 2013
Aspect Ratio: 2.35 : 1
Color