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Café de Flore 2011
Description: Jacqueline is a young mother living in 1960s Paris with her disabled son Laurent. Abandoned by her husband, Jacqueline sacrifices everything to care for her son and vows to give Laurent a “normal” life full of happiness. Antoine, is a successful DJ in show day Montreal who seems to have it all: a thriving career, two pretty daughters, partner Rose, with whom he is passionately in love. However, nothing is excellent and Antoine’s ex-wife Carole remains devastated by their newest separation.
Released: 18 Nov 2011 Director: Jean-Marc Vallée Writers: Jean-Marc Vallée Actors: Vanessa Paradis, Kevin Parent, Hélène Florent, Evelyne Brochu Genres: Drama, Romance
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Café de Flore Reviews:

(Read the full review at nickplusmovies.blogspot.com)Jean-Marc Vallée returns to his beloved Québécois roots with his recent work, "Café de flore", one of the many movies that screened at TIFF back in September (and that I was lucky enough to see). The storyline is composed of two interwoven narratives that-- only at first glance-- seem fully unrelated to one another.The first storyline is set in present-day Montreal and centers on a recently divorced father of two girls, Antoine Godin (Kevin Parent), who leads a successful life as a professional DJ. Despite having found real happiness in his relationship with his girlfriend Rose (Evelyne Brochu), he feels a tiny remorseful for having left his ex-wife Carole (Hélène Florent), for whom he still cares deeply. Antoine understands that she continues struggling to transport on with her life, heartbroken. And to create the case in which they search themselves even more difficult, their eldest daughter persistently plays their nostalgic love song with hopes of reuniting her parents.The second storyline is set in Paris in 1969 and focuses on Jacqueline (Vanessa Paradis), a self-sufficient, loving single mother who becomes the embodiment of perseverance and selflessness as she promises to devote herself both physically and spiritually to her son Laurent, who has been diagnosed with Down syndrome. She spends each minute of spare time with her beloved young man with the target to elongate his limited life expectancy. One day, when Laurent starts to be infatuated by Véronique, a fresh woman in his class-- who, incidentally, also has Down syndrome-- Jacqueline is struck by an overwhelming feeling as she fears that her inseparable bond with the only person she loves will be be lost with time.Up until the very end of the film, it seems like the only url between both stories is the melody the characters listen to (the jazz album "Café de flore" appears in the second storyline while a certain remix is featured in the first one), but as we progress further into this mystical mystery, we learn that there is something much deeper tying together the characters and their stories of love and loss. Knowing that "Café de flore" would be composed of intertwined stories, I was initially a tiny reluctant to seeing it and very worried that its structure would collapse within the first several mins of the film. To my pleasant surprise, this modern approach to storytelling proved to be ultimately rewarding. I trust credit is due to the movie editor, who is-- trust it or not-- Jean-Marc Vallée, again. It's great to hear that he had control of almost each visual aspect of his own work of art. With Vallée's perfectly orchestrated editing, the audience is able to follow the storyline without ever sensing an abrupt switch between storyline lines. In the film's entirety, not once did I feel that some scenes were fragmented or disjointed from others. Vallée everytime progresses deeper into his creation by carefully and seamlessly shifting between narratives just at the right time, creating a smooth, fluid tempo. Briefly, everything flows like a river. Just like in "C.R.A.Z.Y.", melody is a vital element to this film. Jean- Marc Vallée selects many tunes with ethereal, ambient qualities to match the profound thoughts and feelings of all the characters. While he details some more Pink Floyd ("Speak to Me/Breathe"), he makes of Sigur Ros's "Svefn-g-englar" the film's most haunting musical piece-- by far.There are far too many impressive performances in "Café de flore" to name. Vallée gotta be what one would call an "actor's director", because he seems to continuously squeeze out the most confident, natural performances from all of his actors-- young or old-- in order to achieve his target to craft a realistic family drama. He even went to the lengths of finding two kids who have Down syndrome in true life for the roles of Laurent and Véronique (these are two "performances" that will create your jaw drop). This is proof of his everlasting adherence to realism as a filmmaker.In sum, "Café de flore" is a sensual, deeply touching chef-d'oeuvre that will have you shivering each minute in pure emotional awe. It never comes across as overly sentimental, but rather genuinely heartfelt. I can't recall the last time I found myself on the verge of tears while simultaneously smiling at the bittersweet beauty of a film. Come to think of it, there isn't a single film from 2011 that I should suggest seeing more than this one. I trust it's an essential viewing for anyone who has felt the most fundamental of human emotions. (That means you... I hope)


Firstly, disregard the two previous reviews, for they are both negative and underrate a nice film. 'Cafe de Flore' is not quite for everyone, which I can understand. However if you truly wish to see this film, ignore another opinions, otherwise you will miss out on a potential Oscar nomination.There are two separate stories occurring. One is about a girl in the 1960s (Paradis) who has to raise her son on her own, because he has Down's syndrome. The another is about a melody jockey called Antoine (Parent) who is ready to marry again despite the bond he shares with his ex-wife, who was also his first love. His eldest daughter purposely plays certain songs which remind him of their marriage, since the central concept is how melody recalls certain memories. Each time a certain song is heard in the background, one is bound to step inside the characters memories.The another storyline is the beauty of a mother-son relationship. Paradis is genuine in this role, especially being a real-life mother herself. Her makeup ages her to portray her role well. We see how she encourages her man to learn despite his disabilities. Remember, this was an era where kids like him were discriminated and often sent to institutions.'Cafe de Flore' is truly a storyline about the power of love. You have to follow closely, therefore if easy distracted the flashbacks may confuse you. The constant repetition of Pink Floyd, which was also a signature band for Jean-Marc Vallee's 'C.R.A.Z.Y.', is synchronized to perfection. The visuals and acting performances are moving, as the movie unfolds by layer, to at last reveal how both stories are connected.


If you can create the leap of faith needed in the final portion of the movie, this is a beautiful, haunting work that will stay with you long after you have left the theater. There is no question that this film asks a lot of one's suspension of disbelief. But I think that film goers could give it the benefit of a doubt. This is a very unconventional love story, and it may be the most thoughtful film each made about the concept that one person can be other person's soul mate. The tension of course arises when what does one do when one finds a deeper, more meaningful soul mate. This is a complex work with a fully various method of investigating its romantic themes. It uses melody beautifully as a thread that joins elements of the movie together, binding emotional themes together and providing transitions between the two stories that it tells. I can't think of other film that finds such an special approach to saying its tale.It is also the greatest Canadian movie that I have seen in years. One of the very greatest films of the year.



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