Belgian film The Broken Circle Breakdown has won the Europa Cinemas Label as Best European film in the Panorama section of the Berlinale.

The film, directed by Felix van Groeningen, will now receive support from the Europa Cinemas Network with promotion and incentives for exhibitors to extrend the film’s run on screen.

The jury comprised four exhibitors from the Europa Cinemas Network:

  • Tanja Miličić - Kino Valli / Pula Film Festival (Croatia);
  • Gerardo De Vivo - Multicinema Modernissimo (Italy);
  • Anne Kellner - Lichtspieltheater Wundervoll (Germany);
  • Irina Efstratiou  - Cine Astra (Greece).

A statement from the jury said: ”Felix van Groeningen is a real film-maker. This is a beautiful and original way of looking at a mother and father’s relationship with their terminally sick daughter.

“We especially liked the cinematography, the non-linear structure of the story, and the fact that he avoids easy emotional manipulation while dealing with a tough subject. The music from the parents’ bluegrass band is not just the soundtrack but a source of energy and hope for everyone.

“The clear message is that we must invest in scientific research and not allow religion or politics to interfere.”

Sold internationally by The Match Factory, the film is a Belgian/Dutch co-production between Menuet and Topkapi Films, Amsterdam.

The film stars Johan Heldenbergh, Veerle Baetens and Nell Cattrysse. It centres on the stormy, passionate relationship of Didier and Elise, respectively a banjo player in a bluegrass band and the owner of a tattoo parlour, whose love is tested when their daughter falls seriously ill.

The Europa Cinemas Network extends across 68 countries, 1,111 cinemas and 2,943 screens.

It is the ninth year the prize has been awarded.

Previous winners

2012: My Brother the Devil (Sally El Hosaini, UK)

2011: Above Us Only Sky (Über uns das All) (Jan Schomburg, Germany)

2010: When We Leave (Die Fremde) (Feo Aladag, Germany)

2009: Welcome (Philippe Lioret, France)
(Rune Denstad Langlo, Norway)

2008: Revanche (Götz Spielmann, Austria)

2007: Summer Rain (El Camino de los Ingleses) (Antonio Banderas, Spain)

2006: Tough Enough (Knallhart) (Detlev Buck, Germany)

2005: Live and Become (Va, Vis et Deviens)  (Radu Mihaileanu, France/Belgium/Israel)
Cockles and Muscles (Crustacés et Coquillages)
(Olivier Ducastel, Jacques Martineau, France)