This week, BUFS is pleased to present the Oscar-nominated Belgian film, The Broken Circle Breakdown.
When young tattoo artist Elise meets older bluegrass musician Didier, sparks fly and the two have a passionate affair. Elise becomes pregnant, and though they hadn’t planned to start a family, she and Didier decide to marry. She takes over as the lead singer in his band, and turns out to have been the missing link—with her vocals, the group’s buzz spreads and they start playing bigger and bigger concert halls. Their daughter grows into a darling little girl, the centre of her parents’ lives. But when she is diagnosed with cancer, the weak spots in Elise and Didier’s relationship make themselves evident, and the film unfolds over the question of whether or not the two can hold it all together.
The Broken Circle Breakdown isn’t the first film to be made about love and loss, nor is it the first film to explore the damage that comes when two parents try to cope with a shared tragedy in their own, opposing ways. But director Felix Van Groeningen, working from a play by Jonah Heldenbergh (who also plays Didier) takes this sadly familiar story and reconfigures it, giving it over to the audience in meaningful chunks that zigzag back and forth in time, juxtaposing Elise and Didier’s many shared and often profound emotional experiences over the span of ten years, and then letting us decide if we should root for them or not.
The Broken Circle Breakdown screens Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Landmark Theatres, Pen Centre. Visit brocku.ca/bufs for details.