Film: The Broken Circle Breakdown

On a windy and rainy Wednesday I decided to seek refuge in my favourite cinema in Bristol. Among the usual compelling choices on the bill at the Watershed was The Broke Circle Breakdown.

The Broken Circle Breakdown is an intoxicating Belgian drama that traces the demise of a relationship when a couple lose their daughter at the age of six. Following a non-linear narrative, Felix van Groeningen's film is adapted from a stage play by Johan Heldenbergh, and focuses brilliantly and intensely  on personalities and emotional experience.

A very beautiful film, it conveys the frustrations, passions, loves, disappointments and losses that are rarely avoided in a single life. On top of the fantastic acting and gorgeously fluid transitions between scenes, the energetic Appalachian music – something I grew up watching my dad and, later on, my sister play at folk sessions in my 'local' – that provides the soundtrack and part of the plot made it all the more relatable for me. Set in rural Belgium and centring around the shared lives of two bohemians (her a tattoo artist, he a bluegrass musician), the plot throws up no shortage of stunning photography.

This is a powerful and heartbreaking watch. Vivid colours and incredible tattoo designs by Marie Brabant accompany the music to make a very visceral depiction of a life as it falls apart. Veerle Baetens and Johan Heldenbergh give unforgettable performances, not to mention the young Nell Cattrysse as Maybelle.

Visit: for screening of European films. 


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