Ever since I saw The Broken Circle Breakdown, directed by Felix van Groeningen I´ve been slowly working my way through his work. There still isn´t a movie by his which makes me feel as much as that film, but that doesn´t mean I think his other movies are bad because they aren´t. But The Broken Circle Breakdown simply managed to move me so much. After reading several positive reviews about his latest film, I was curious about Belgica.
Frank (Tom Vermeir) and Jo (Stef Aerts) are two brothers. Jo has a bar, Belgica, where Frank also starts working. The two have huge plans with the location and want to turn the small pub into a huge place to go out for people with lots of live music. Bigger audiences however also mean more problems, which not only means a lot of pressure on the relationship between the brothers, but also Frank´s relationship is challenged. Will they be able to face these challenges or will it be too much for them?
You’ll quickly notice that you are watching a van Groeningen film. Music plays an important part and the various musical performances are shot in a very dynamic way and gives a good sense of the atmosphere. The story about running the pub is told well too and slowly see how the success is changing personal relationships when expectations aren’t met. Gambles and risks taken sometimes can have dramatic consequences and Belgica has lots of it. Franks lives a life of sex, drugs and rock-and-roll and as history has taught us something has to go wrong. A moving film which could have been a bit shorter, but it worth watching.