Film review: CAFE DE FLORE from Built for Speed

Those whose heads are still smarting from the brain twisting weirdness of Tree of Life better stock up on Panadol for new time-hopping French Canadian drama Café de Flore.

What seems like a fairly straightforward tale of marriage breakdown between a successful DJ, Antoine (musician Kevin Parent) and wife Carole (Helene Florent) becomes increasingly strange as the story jumps back to 1969 where a very determined young Mother, Jacqueline (Vanessa Paradis) attempts to give her seven year old son Laurent (Marin Garrier), who is afflicted with Down Syndrome, the chance for an independent life.

Café de Flore is both aurally and visually stunning as it employs music video style editing and swirling fragments of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon to draw a bizarre link between the worlds of Antoine and Jaqueline.

Like the show Lost, however, it promises much with its intriguing, ambiguous imagery but may disappoint some with the pay off.

The Director Jean-Marc Vallee was apparently more interested in the universal emotional qualities of music and the way they transcend time than with coherent narrative, so what we see is more an extended music video than a conventional film.

This is also a love story with moving portrayal of the relationship not just between adults but also between Jacqueline and Laurent.

Trying to decipher and connect all the bits of this film may be a fruitless exercise but there’s still some quality film making and some fine music to admire along the way.

Also, make sure you stay through the closing credits.


Director: Jean-Marc Vallee

Release date: 25th April 2012

Running time: 120 mins

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