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A love story about people separated by time and place but connected in profound and mysterious ways. Atmospheric, fantastical, tragic and hopeful, the film chronicles the parallel fates of Jacqueline, a young mother with a disabled son in 1960s Paris, and Antoine, a recently divorced, successful DJ in present day Montreal. What binds the two stories together is love - euphoric, obsessive, tragic, youthful, timeless love. In 1960s Paris, a working class woman gives birth to her first child, Laurent - a Down Syndrome son. Undaunted she embraces the challenge of raising her beloved offspring as normally as one would any other child. Her husband abandons them both. She bravely brushes this additional hiccup aside as Laurent replaces her spouse as the perfect man of her dreams. As Laurent approaches school age Jacqueline's aplomb becomes obsessive and cloying. Her increasingly self-destructive attachment to her son is raised to a fever pitch when, at the age of seven, he meets a Down ... Written by
Firstly, disregard the two previous reviews, for they are both negative and underrate a great film. 'Cafe de Flore' is not quite for everyone, which I can understand. However if you truly want to see this film, ignore other opinions, otherwise you will miss out on a potential Oscar nomination.
There are two separate stories occurring. One is about a woman in the 1960s (Paradis) who has to raise her son on her own, because he has Down's syndrome. The other is about a music jockey named 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 idea is how music recalls certain memories. Every time a certain song is heard in the background, one is bound to step inside the characters memories.
The other story 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 boy to learn despite his disabilities. Remember, this was an era where children like him were discriminated and often sent to institutions.
'Cafe de Flore' is truly a story about the power of love. You have to follow closely, therefore if easily 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 film unfolds by layer, to at last reveal how both stories are connected.
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