Felix van Groeningen’s bluegrass drama The Broken Circle Breakdown has won the prize for Best Foreign Feature at the César Awards Ceremony, overtaking international highfliers such as La grande bellezza, Blancanieves or Gravity. The Broken Circle Breakdown is also one of five nominees vying for a Foreign Language Oscar coming Sunday.

CésarsIt was main actor Johan Heldenbergh, portraying bluegrass musician Didier in The Broken Circle Breakdown, who climbed the stage to collect the César for Best Foreign Feature. The rest of the team including director Felix van Groeningen and actress Veerle Baetens are already in Los Angeles preparing for Oscar Night. This Sunday the 86th Academy Awards will be hosted at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood with The Broken Circle Breakdown contending in the Foreign Language Film category.

Earlier this week, The Broken Circle Breakdown was already given the Satellite Award for Best International Film, presented by the International Press Academy, leaving Oscar-rival La grande bellezza empty-handed once before.

Released in France as Alabama Monroe, van Groeningen’s The Broken Circle Breakdown quickly became a box office hit, turning it into the all-time highest grossing Dutch-language Belgian film in France. It is the first time in the history of the César Awards that a film from Flanders sweeps the César for Best Foreign Feature.

Since 1976, the César trophies have been awarded each year by the Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma which assembles over 4,300 professionals of the film industry. Last year, Matthias Schoenaerts received the César for Best Male Newcomer rewarding his interpretation of Ali in Jacques Audiard’s Rust & Bone. Furthermore, Michaël R. Roskam’s Bullhead was nominated in the Foreign Film category, while Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roels’ animation short Oh Willy… featured on the Animation Feature shortlist of the César Awards.

Scripted by Felix van Groeningen and Carl Joos, The Broken Circle Breakdown is based on the eponymous theatre play by Johan Heldenbergh and Mieke Dobbels. Ruben Impens acted as DOP, while Nico Leunen was taken on board as editor. Dirk Impens of Ghent-based production powerhouse Menuet (In Flanders Fields, The Misfortunates) produced the film and could count on the support of the Flanders Audiovisual Fund/Film Fund of Flemish Cultural Affairs Minister Joke Schauvliege.

Published on Friday 28 February 2014