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High hopes for Felix Van Groeningen's Belgica

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- Belgica's release in Belgium (and France) this week marks not only Felix Van Groeningen's return to the field, but also Soulwax's

High hopes for Felix Van Groeningen's Belgica
Belgica by Felix Van Groeningen

Felix Van Groeningen's much anticipated film Belgica [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Artemio Benki, Sylvie Leray
interview: Felix Van Groeningen
film profile
]
hits Belgian cinemas today. The director was first discovered in 2004, when he released his first feature film, Steve + Sky, which went on to win the Joseph Plateau Award for Best Belgian Film. In 2007, he followed this up with With Friends Like These [+see also:
trailer
interview: Felix van Groeningen
film profile
]
, a film he co-wrote with Arne Sierens, whom he also worked with on Belgica. His film The Misfortunates [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Felix van Groeningen
film profile
]
, an adaptation of Dimitri Verhulst's novel, really put Van Groeningen on the international map: a film that did rather nicely for itself at the Directors' Fortnight. But it was his next movie, The Broken Circle Breakdown [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Felix van Groeningen
interview: Felix Van Groeningen
interview: Felix Van Groeningen
festival scope
film profile
]
, yet another adaptation – this time of a play – that really marked him out as a sure thing in international cinema. The film's journey, which began at the Berlin International Film Festival, went all the way to Hollywood, where it was one of the final five nominees for the Oscar for Best Foreign-language Film. The Broken Circle Breakdown, a terrifying tale of love and loss, distinguished itself with its bluegrass soundtrack: something that garnered just as much success as the film itself.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Belgica sees Van Groeningen return with a completely original script, touching on a theme very close to him: the rise and fall (perhaps in order to rise from the ashes even better than before) of a bar/music hall run by two brothers who are being torn apart by this den of iniquity. As with his previous film, music is at the heart of this project. The band Soulwax, led by the Dewaele Brothers (also known as 2manydjs), was brought in to create the soundtrack, made up of both the (equally well composed) extra- and intra-diegetic music – that is to say, the club's DJ sets, as well as the clips of the bands seen in the film.

Thanks to both the director's and Soulwax's fame, this film clearly has a great potential audience. Kinepolis is distributing this film across a relatively modest network of around 20 cinemas around the country. It should be noted that, while the film will be released in cinemas in certain territories (notably Belgium and France today), the rest of the world will be able to watch it on Netflix: a first for a (recent) Belgian film. 

(Translated from French)

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