From stageplay to screenplay to film – tragic to melodramatic: The case of The Broken Circle Breakdown | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 7, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1759-7137
  • E-ISSN: 1759-7145



The Broken Circle Breakdown is one of the most successful theatre plays (2008) in recent years in Flanders. The film adaptation (2012) by Felix Van Groeningen was even more successful. Nevertheless, theatre play, screenplay and the final film differ considerably. This essay aims to reconstruct the genetic evolution of the screen idea from stage play to script to film. It tries to elucidate the dramaturgical choices made by the playwrights, screenwriters and last but in this case certainly not least, the editor, and how this influenced a shift from the tragic (play) towards the melodramatic (film). The adaptation thus can be described as what Jacques Rancière has called a ‘thwarted fable’.


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