Friday, July 04, 2014

"The Broken Circle Breakdown", a compelling film from Belgium

Last night we watched this film that was not known to us but somehow Netflix had suggested it our way.  It was among the most sad great films that has ever been seen here.  The music influenced this comment in a major way, if in the unlikely event that any film anals want to understand why I am overstepping their territory.

Within the first few minutes of this film produced and directed in Belgium,  "The Broken Circle Breakdown", has a mention of Tony Rice, something that experienced country music lovers may relate to, as well as folks who know his home, in the Piedmont area on the middle of the Virginia and North Carolina border.  Hey, I was from Danville, VA in the  middle of that area and did not know who the not so widely known Tony Rice was until friends in Texas and North Carolina sent CD's in the early 2000's.  With the  mention of his name at the start pf this film from Belgium, that  alerted me that, "something special is going on here."

The film's location is in a rural area of the French speaking Gent, not too far from Antwerp. English is spoken some of the time, and French at other times with subtitles.

Rice was a major influence on country western and especially bluegrass music, but he was not  recognized for that except by other musicians  He preferred staying in the background .  To hear his name at the start of this film focused me.  What the heck?

The music here is just plainspoken bluegrass played in Belgium, good bluegrass it seems to me.  The players, husband, a bluegrass prodigy and devotee, and the wife, a tattoo artist and appealing country singing free spirit, meet and the romance begins.  A beautiful child is born, named Maybelle, as in Carter.  No spoilers here, but music is a part of almost every scene, and empathy is more expressly felt by this viewer through the music than anything I can remember(at this point that may not be saying much).

In the end, with their new names Alabama and Monroe tats on her legs, the film ends.  Is this film following a well worn path of lives lost through fate or intensity or is it something more powerful.  More powerful I say, much more.  The film has more than enough heartthrob moments, but it is in its totality a picture of real life, lived the right way, with optimism, with tragedy, and with music.

What an unusual film this is.


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