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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
I scared myself when I cried with the Sigur Ros song in the film, out of blue, in the dark cinema with only 3 other strange people there.
This is a film about dream and love, and what are you supposed to do if your dream is all about the one you love, and what if you spend all your life protecting a dream that never meant to belong to you. This is the question in front of Jacqueline and Carole. After all, having a dream that connected to human beings is a dangerous thing to do.
Using two parallel story lines is no more a novelty in film making. Yet the film does not give us much information on the relation between the two very different stories—a single mother, Jacqueline, with her Down's syndrome son, Laurent, in 1960s and a couple (Carole and Antonio) facing betrayal and the sequential mental stress today. The only correlations between them are Carole's strange dreams and "Cafe de Flore"—the songs with the same name that people from two spaces and times happened to play. Two and a half hours is a long duration for an independent art film, and in most of the time, these two stories are separately told, slowly and beautifully, and I thought maybe that's it, there would be no overlap between the two stories, until Carole figured out her connection with the mother and son from the last life.
I watched Cafe de Flore by myself in a small cinema in the suburb of London. Tranquillity is all you need when encountering a beautiful film like this. Crying like a baby in the cinema, I had to sit there for a while until the film credits finished in order to give myself some time to look normal before going out. And the film is such a great comfort for some reason, it's cathartic.
The original soundtrack is another important reason to make the film so moving. Interestingly, Sigur Ros's music video svefn-g-englar featured with Down's syndrome dancers, could be the initial inspiration of Cafe de Flore?
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