- Felix Van Groeningen
- Veerle Baetens, Johan Heldenbergh
This unusual Belgian drama, adapted from a play by lead actor Johan Heldenbergh, was a sleeper hit at the Berlin and Tribeca film festivals. Heldenbergh stars as Didier, a musician with bluegrass in his veins and a love for the American mystique that goes along with it, whose life changes when he meets tattoo artist and aspiring singer Elise (Veerle Baetens). The two harmonize both on and off the stage, starting a band and a family. They find, however, more than they bargained for when their young daughter becomes seriously ill. This fateful development tests their relationship, their views about religion, and their stability as people trying to love in a cruel and indifferent world. An engaging non-linear structure, emotional grit, and incredible musical performances led Belgium to submit the film as its official entry for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Despite the inevitable comparisons to Blue Valentine and Once, The Broken Circle Breakdown holds its own, despite its title, as a full circle.