Jean-Marc Vallée | 2011 | Canada / France | 120m | French w/Eng ST | Vanessa Paradis, Kevin Parent, Hélène Florent
The director of C.R.A.Z.Y. returns with this elegiac, finely crafted paean to love which employs a sophisticated twin narrative structure which spans decades and a sublime soundtrack to excellent effect. The title "Café de Flore" refers not to the famous Boulevard St-Germain café, but to a musical theme running through the film that connects the characters across time although their connection is not revealed until the final act.
In modern Montreal, DJ Antoine embarks on a new affair with free spirit Rose whilst reflecting on his past life with teenage sweetheart Carole with whom he raised two daughters – the tensions of the present and complications of his current situation causing him to re-visit his past. Meanwhile in 1969 Paris, Jacqueline (played by a stripped down Vanessa Paradis) is a single mother to Laurent, who is born with Down’s Syndrome. Fiercely protective and ambitious for her son, they have an intensely loving relationship which is disrupted when Laurent makes a new friend at school, Véronique, and Jacqueline becomes threatened by her son’s interests in the wider world.
This is a hugely cinematic film – Vallé employs all the elements of mise-en-scène to create a very emotional, spiritual piece about the possibilities of love, its hell and its heaven and ultimately the promise of redemption it can bring.
French with English subtities
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