Elise and Didier fall in love at first sight, in spite of their differences. He talks, she listens. He's a romantic atheist, she's a religious realist. When their daughter becomes seriously ill, their love is put on trial.
13-year-old Gunther Strobbe grows up surrounded by alcohol, trash and his completely useless father and uncles. Slowly but surely, he's being prepared for the same hapless life. Can he defy his destiny?
Felix van Groeningen
Koen De Graeve
Put in charge of his young son, Alain leaves Belgium for Antibes to live with his sister and her husband as a family. Alain's bond with Stephanie, a killer whale trainer, grows deeper after Stephanie suffers a horrible accident.
Georges and Anne are an octogenarian couple. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, also a musician, lives in Britain with her family. One day, Anne has a stroke, and the couple's bond of love is severely tested.
Elise and Didier fall in love at first sight. She has her own tattoo shop and he plays the banjo in a bluegrass band. They bond over their shared enthusiasm for American music and culture, and dive headfirst into a sweeping romance that plays out on and off stage - but when an unexpected tragedy hits their new family, everything they know and love is tested. An intensely moving portrait of a relationship from beginning to end, propelled by a soundtrack of foot-stomping bluegrass, The Broken Circle Breakdown is a romantic melodrama of the highest order. Written by
There are very few films as emotionally raw and truthful as 'The Broken Circle Breakdown'. Set in Belgium, and somewhat reminiscent of 'Betty Blue', it tells of the love affair between Didier and Elise - a bluegrass musician and a tattoo artist. The story begins with the couple attending to their young daughter's needs in a cancer ward as she battles for her life against the disease. Flashback sequences portray the couple's initial meeting, Elise's incorporation into Didier's band as a vocalist, the mad passion of their early romance and the arrival of daughter Maybelle in their lives.
Back at the hospital seven years later, the child endures the toxic effects of chemotherapy, her health alternately improving and deteriorating, while the parents accompany her on this agonizing roller-coaster ride. Fracture lines appear in the couple's deep bond as atheist Didier rails against a god that could have inflicted such a cruel destiny upon the girl, while Elise struggles to hold onto hope and process her anguish. Somehow their heroic odyssey into the deepest regions of pain is neither pessimistic nor depressing, and their story communicates profound insights about the need for love, forgiveness and understanding in extreme circumstances. By contrast, it makes most Hollywood productions look like trite insults to human intelligence. Perhaps they are - and maybe audiences should look elsewhere for authentic artistic expression. This film suggests Belgian cinema might be somewhere to start the search.
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