With a few more foreign films left to see, I can already tell that Belgium’s entry for Best Foreign Language Feature, “The Broken Circle Breakdown” will be my resounding favorite of the five. Following a man in a bluegrass band who meets a gorgeous tattooed blonde and begins a relationship with her, the film is told in a fragmented story structure with creates a sense of longing and even more of an emotional roller coaster as we’re never quite sure what part of the story will be next. Dealing with cancer and loss, the film is so heartbreaking, that the emotions resonate long after the film has ended. With amazing performances from both leads, the man played rugged and handsomely by Johan Heldenbergh and especially the female lead Veerle Baetens, who lays it all on the table in this role, will definitely be making a splash if she continues on acting. Although this will be my favorite foreign feature, I’m not sure if it will have enough overall appeal for the Academy to call it their favorite. With odds on Italy’s “The Great Beauty”, “The Broken Circle Breakdown” does currently hold the second place spot on the Oscar pundits website Golden Derby, ahead of the other three entries and as the Academy often strays from other voting bodies, especially the Golden Globes and the Hollywood Foreign Press, there’s still a chance this film could win and it might come down to the wire for me voting for this or “The Great Beauty”, but I will be able to decide more after viewing the final three films. This Belgium’s seventh nomination with zero wins, so they are due, and it marks the second time Belgium has produced my favorite foreign film of the year, last time with “Bullhead” (2011).
// Produced by Carl Joos and Felix Van Groeningen // Directed by Felix Van Groeningen //
// Dated Viewed: Sunday, January 26th, 2014 // Laemmle’s NoHo 7 // 33 films – 36 days //