There are two stories here. They do not segue, one into the other. One story is set in Paris in 1969. The other story is set in Toronto in the present day. There is not a character in the first story who appears in the second story. Don’t try to find one. However, the two stories examine the difficulty encountered by human beings who have to contend with change.
It is a terrific story, and a very fine film. The narrative put me in mind of ‘Babel’ with Cate Blanchette and an American male actor. The director, Jean-Marc Vallee, has created a multi-layered film which utilises music and our cultural expectations to assist his audience to follow the characters on their transition.
The two main characters are Jacqueline, played by Vanessa Paradis, and Carole played by Helene Florent. I am not sure why the film is titled ‘Cafe de Flore’. All I can think of is that the cafe of the same name in 6th arrondissement in Paris was a meeting place for intellectual discussion in the ‘50s and ‘60s. This film makes manifest an intellectual conceit: transition.
This is a splendid film.