Cafe de Flore (1 star)

Cafe de Flore

An objectionable, distasteful and ultimately pointless exercise in parallel plotting

(tbc) 120 min

In crisply-shot present-day Montreal, celebrity DJ Antoine (Kevin Parent) has recently left his wife Carole (Hélène Florent) and set up a home with their two children and his new girlfriend, Rose (Evelyne Brochu). In dull and dingy Paris of 1969, Jacqueline (Vanessa Paradis) struggles to raise her son Laurent (Marin Gerrier), who has Down’s Syndrome, after her husband abdicates responsibility and walks out.

Quebecois director Jean-Marc Vallée (C.R.A.Z.Y., The Young Victoria) parallels these two stories in this deeply misjudged film, which despite attempts to persuade the viewer, through stylish editing and repeated musical motifs, that these characters from different times have some kind of spiritual connection, ends up feeling cheap and distasteful. The harrowing story of Jacqueline and her son is clearly only in the film to add a kind of ‘gravitas-by-association’ to the bland, unsympathetic characters in the present-day. Vallée appears content to put his audience through the emotional wringer for no discernible purpose, and the result is a film that is objectionable and ultimately pointless.

Selected release from Fri 11 May.

Café de Flore : official trailer (English)

Café de Flore

  • 1 star
  • 2011
  • Canada / France
  • 2h
  • 15
  • Directed by: Jean Marc-Vallee
  • Written by: Jean Marc-Vallee
  • Cast: Vanessa Paradis, kevin Parent, Helene Florent
  • UK release: 11 May 2012

In present-day Montreal, Antoine (Parent) leaves his wife and sets up a home with their children and his new girlfriend (Brochu), while in 1960s Paris, abandoned wife Jacqueline (Paradis) struggles to raise her disabled son (Gerrier). Stylish editing and musical motifs attempt to connect these otherwise unrelated…

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