Biography

After graduating from the KASK film academy with his short 50cc, Felix van Groeningen made a few shorts and wrote and directed several stage plays. The Broken Circle Breakdown is van Groeningen's fourth full-length film after Steve+Sky, With Friends Like These and the critically acclaimed film The Misfortunates, which was a big commercial success in the Benelux. The Broken Circle Breakdown marks van Groeningen’s fourth collaboration with producer Dirk Impens of Menuet.

From the Flanders (i) magazine

Belgica up next for Felix van Groeningen

Drama Belgica has been confirmed as the next feature from Oscar-nominated helmer Felix van Groeningen (The Broken Circle Breakdown). The project recently received production money from the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF). Principal photography is set to start this autumn.

Felix van GroeningenMid-January the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) announced that van Groeningen’s The Broken Circle Breakdown is among this year’s Foreign-language Oscar nominees. In the meantime, van Groeningen has also unveiled what is to become his fifth feature.

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Published on Tuesday 25 February 2014

The Full Felix

At film school students are taught that a movie is made three times. You write it, you shoot it, and you edit it. Felix Van Groeningen never forgot this lesson. At every stage of filmmaking, the director will push things to the limits. He writes versions of the same story until he goes crazy himself. While shooting, he keeps on going until the whole crew is exhausted. And while editing he takes radical measures to get to the point where the film is the rollercoaster it was intended, but never foreseen to be.

Felix rising

fvgWhat sets Felix Van Groeningen’s heart racing is the moment when he can match an actor with a role. ‘When I see those two things come together, for me it’s like the feeling of falling in love,’ he says capturing that sence of excitement in a performance is what his cinema is all about. ‘At the moment itself, in front of the camera. It has to touch me. The director of such films as The Misfortunates and The Broken Circle Breakdown is happy to admit that  he finds writing difficult and that visual style is not uppermost in his mind when conceiving a film.

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Published on Wednesday 22 May 2013

The Fortunate One

When everything comes together there’s nothing to beat being a film producer. ‘Finding an audience with a good film is amazing,’ says Dirk Impens of Menuet. It’s a big kick. It’s orgasmic.’ Impens felt the love early on in his career with Daens, which was nominated for an Oscar, and more recently with Felix Van Groeningen’s The Misfortunates, which was a huge success at home and in festivals abroad. Van Groeningen’s latest, The Broken Circle Breakdown, rolls out internationally at the Berlinale.

dirkimpensmagHowever, Impens wasn't so sure it would happen with van Groeningen's most recent movie. Where The Misfortunates attracted a young audience with its mix of comic bad behaviour and deep emotion, The Broken Circle Breakdown is about a more sobering subject: a couple driven apart when their small daughter develops a terminal illness.

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Published on Wednesday 15 May 2013

Small country, big emotions

After the success of The Misfortunates at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009 director Felix van Groeningen had plenty of offers. ‘A lot of scripts came in, but I stopped reading them because it made me very sad,’ he says. ‘It’s not my style, I can’t decide to make a movie like that. If I want to make something it has to start from inside.'

FelixVanGroeningenmagThe kind of deep, emotional reaction he is talking about happened when he saw The Broken Circle Breakdown featuring the cover-ups of Alabama'. This musical stage play tells the story of Elise and Didier, two completely different people who are right for one another. She runs a tattoo parlour and he plays banjo in a bluegrass band. They fall in love, perform together and have a daughter, Maybelle. but when the little girl dies of cancer, they lose one another as well.

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Published on Tuesday 14 May 2013

Becoming Elise

Veerle Baetens has spent much of the past four years playing tough vice cop Hannah Maes in Code 37, first a successful Flemish TV series and then a movie. 'Hannah is very aggressive and very emotional, but completely blocked,' she explains. 'She has a lot of hate and she wants revenge.' Her new role, Elise in Felix van Groeningen’s The Broken Circle Breakdown (pictured on the set with director Felix van Groeningen), is much more open, encompassing great pain but also great love. 'She goes through so many things during the movie,' Baetens says. 'Pure happiness, pure passion for a guy, the birth of her child. She is so wrapped up in emotions. I really bonded with her.'

Text Ian Mundell

Felix van Groeningen and Veerle Baetens on the set of the Broken Circle BreakdownThat connection was already apparent when Baetens saw the play on which the film is based, the tale of a perfect couple torn apart by grief. 'It was funny and tear-jerking,' she recalls. 'It reminded me a little of how I felt when I saw Dancer in the Dark. Some people really hate the film because it is so emotional, but I love it when people get to that point.'

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Published on Tuesday 14 August 2012

In the news

KVIFF invites Felix van Groeningen as Future Frames Master

Published on Wednesday 8 June 2016

Belgica and The Land of the Enlightened win prizes at Sundance

Published on Monday 1 February 2016

Talent from Flanders represented at the Berlinale

Published on Monday 15 February 2016

Sundance takes Belgica and The Land of the Enlightened

Published on Wednesday 9 December 2015

Felix van Groeningen to direct Beautiful Boy for New Regency and Plan B

Published on Wednesday 23 September 2015

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