For some reason the Belgian movie "The Broken Circle Breakdown" never appeared on my radar. It should have -- it sounds fascinating: a love story/drama set against the background of the European (and particularly Belgian/Dutch) bluegrass scene. Directed by Felix Van Groeningen, it is based on a play by Johan Heldenbergh and Mieke Dobbels, which was published in 2008 in book form.
The movie came out in 2011 and got great reviews, and the sound track can be downloaded from ITunes. The band tours with live concerts in mainly Belgium and the Netherlands.
John Lawless has just written about the movie in Bluegrass Today, as the film, which been shown at festivals, is about to hit selected theatres in the U.S., with screenings at 13 art house cinemas in the south next month and then limited engagements elsewhere in November and December:
The two primary characters in this dark drama share a passion for each other, and for American music. Didier (Johan Heldenbergh) plays banjo in a bluegrass group, and Elise (Veerle Baetens) runs her own tattoo parlor. She sings with the band, and the pair falls hard for each other, a romance that is followed both on and off the stage. Things runs smoothly for these two, until a tragedy tears them apart.
Original music for the film was composed by Bjorn Eriksson, but all the music in the band scenes is performed by the actors, a testament to the active Dutch and Belgian bluegrass scene.
Here's the trailer, with English subtitles.
See U.S. screening dates and more on Bluegrass Today.