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The Broken Circle Breakdown (also known as Alabama Monroe) is a 2012 Belgian drama film directed by Felix Van Groeningen. It is based on the play written by Johan Heldenbergh and Mieke Dobbels and adapted for the screen by Carl Joos and Felix van Groeningen.

The Broken Circle Breakdown
The Broken Circle Breakdown.jpg
Film poster
Directed byFelix Van Groeningen
Produced byDirk Impens
Frans van Gestel
Laurette Schillings
Arnold Heslenfeld
Written byJohan Heldenbergh
Mieke Dobbels
Screenplay byCarl Joos
Felix van Groeningen
StarringJohan Heldenbergh
Veerle Baetens
Music byBjorn Eriksson
CinematographyRuben Impens
Edited byNico Leunen
Topkapi Films
Distributed byKinepolis Film Distribution
Release date
  • 10 October 2012 (2012-10-10)
Running time
111 minutes
Box office$5.5 million[1]

The film garnered critical acclaim and was selected as the Belgian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards,[2] and was on the nominated shortlist.[3] The film was the winner of Best Foreign Film at the 39th César Awards.[4] It was the winner of the 2013 Lux Prize.[5]


  • Johan Heldenbergh as Didier Bontinck / Monroe
  • Veerle Baetens as Elise Vandevelde / Alabama
  • Nell Cattrysse as Maybelle
  • Geert Van Rampelberg as William
  • Nils De Caster as Jock
  • Robbie Cleiren as Jimmy
  • Bert Huysentruyt as Jef
  • Jan Bijvoet as Koen
  • Blanka Heirman as Denise


The film is set in Ghent, in the Flemish Region of Belgium, and chronicles the lives of Didier (Johan Heldenbergh) and Elise (Veerle Baetens) over seven years as they fall in love through their passion for bluegrass music. They have a daughter, Maybelle, who develops cancer after her sixth birthday, and succumbs to it within a year. The death of Maybelle has a devastating effect on their relationship and their lives.


The film was shot from 18 July to 8 September 2011 in Belgium.[6]


The bluegrass soundtrack includes traditional songs [7] as well as music composed for the film by Bjorn Eriksson.[8] All the music in the band scenes is performed by the actors.[8]

  1. "Will the Circle Be Unbroken?" See also "Can the Circle Be Unbroken (By and By)"
  2. "The Boy Who Wouldn't Hoe Corn" by Alison Krauss, Pat Brayer, Jerry Douglas, Dan Tyminski, Barry Bales, and Ron Block
  3. "Dusty Mixed Feelings"
  4. "Wayfaring Stranger"
  5. "Rueben's Train"
  6. "Country In My Genes"
  7. "Further On Up The Road"
  8. "Where Are You Heading, Tumbleweed?"
  9. "Over In The Gloryland"
  10. "Cowboy Man"
  11. "If I Needed You"
  12. "Carved Tree Inn"
  13. "Sandmountain"
  14. "Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us"
  15. "Blackberry Blossom"


Award Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result
Academy Awards[3] Best Foreign Language Film The Broken Circle Breakdown Nominated
César Awards[4] Best Foreign Film The Broken Circle Breakdown Won
Denver Film Critics Society[9] Best Foreign Language Film The Broken Circle Breakdown Nominated
European Film Awards[10][11] European Film The Broken Circle Breakdown Nominated
European Director Felix Van Groeningen Nominated
European Actress Veerle Baetens Won
European Actor Johan Heldenbergh Nominated
European Screenwriter Carl Joos, Felix van Groeningen Nominated
People's Choice Award for Best European Film The Broken Circle Breakdown Nominated
San Diego Film Critics Society[12] Best Foreign Language Film The Broken Circle Breakdown Nominated
Best Original Score Bjorn Eriksson Nominated
Satellite Awards[citation needed] Best Foreign Language Film The Broken Circle Breakdown Won
Tribeca Film Festival[13] Best Actress in a Narrative Feature Film Veerle Baetens Won
Best Screenplay for a Narrative Feature Film Carl Joos, Felix Van Groeningen Won
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association[14] Best Foreign Language Film The Broken Circle Breakdown Won
Lux Prize[15] - The Broken Circle Breakdown Won

See alsoEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Oscars: Belgium Nominates 'The Broken Circle Breakdown' for Foreign Language Category". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Oscars: Main nominations 2014". BBC News. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  4. ^ a b "France's Cesar Awards: 'Me, Myself and Mum' Wins Best Film". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  5. ^ "LUX Prize 2013". European Parliament. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  6. ^ "Pressbook - The Broken Circle Breakdown.pdf" (PDF). Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  7. ^ "The Broken Circle Breakdown(2012) Soundtracks". IMDb. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  8. ^ a b "The Broken Circle Breakdown highlights Belgian bluegrass". Bluegrass Today. Retrieved 28 June 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  9. ^ Lodge, Guy (7 January 2014). "2013 Denver Film Critics' Society nominations". HitFix. Hitfix Awards. Archived from the original on 7 January 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  10. ^ "'The Broken Circle Breakdown' Leads European Film Awards Nominations". Deadline Hollywood. PMC. 9 November 2013. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  12. ^ "San Diego Film Critics Select Top Films for 2013". San Diego Film Critics Society. 11 December 2013. Archived from the original on 27 April 2017. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  13. ^ "HERE ARE YOUR TFF 2013 AWARD WINNERS". Tribeca Film Festival. 25 April 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  14. ^ Tapley, Kristopher (8 December 2013). "'12 Years a Slave' and 'Her' lead the way with Washington D.C. critics nominations". HitFix. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  15. ^ "The Broken Circle Breakdown wins 2013 LUX Prize". European Parliament. 11 December 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2018.

External linksEdit