“If it’s a soul mate, it’s not supposed to end right?”

About a year ago I wrote this.

“Soul mates can be considered two people who are inexplicably meant for each other on both a physical and emotional level. It is a person you fiend out of explosive attraction, someone whose flaws only add to their perfection, someone who inflicts you pain when you are out of their presence..

We live amongst so many people, but have meaningful connections with very few. Why is that? If we never end up finding that ideal person, is it possible that our “soul mate” could come in the form of a best friend, or mother?”

Café de Flore

It is interesting I had these thoughts as the film Café de Flore deals with similar subject matter, exploring the question: could finding a soul mate happen twice in a lifetime?

Café de Flore is a heartbreaking movie that examines the complexity of relationships and what it means to love somebody. Kevin Howell (Toronto.com) explains it as a “shape-shifting film that hits the heart the same way music enters the soul — without thought, only rapture.” It tackles the notion of soul mates by intertwining two different story lines, one taking place in 1960’s Paris, the other in modern day Montréal.

Jacqueline, (Vanessa Paradis) a single mother in the 60’s is deserted by her husband after he discovers their son Laurent has down syndrome. He becomes her everything, but when Laurent meets Véro, (a fellow classmate also with down syndrome) it is love at first sight, and their instant attachment is threatening to Jacqueline. She starts to feel abandoned by Laurent, and as a viewer your heart breaks for her while she fights to regain her sons affection.

The second story is about Antoine, (Kevin Parent) a successful DJ from modern day Montréal that has recently left his wife for another woman. After divorcing Carole and leaving her and his two daughters to grieve, him and new girlfriend Rose make plans to marry.

The way Antoine and Rose interact is so realistic that it often feels as if you are spying on the two, and is a reminder of how it feels to be in love. The intensity of their connection is captured, and it becomes possible to understand why Antoine gave up everything for this woman. The two are electric together; constantly touching, having great sex, staring longingly at one another. . Antoine explains his feelings to his therapist by saying, “It makes you see life the way it should always be. Beautiful. You know? Complete strangers, all smiled at me, like they understood my joy.”

The film focuses on Antoine’s lingering guilt, and how his ex-wife is struggling to get over him – the only man she’s ever been with. Hélène Florent gives a chilling performance, a raw depiction of her character’s night terrors and depression that eventually lead her to contact a medium.

At first it is unclear how the two story lines might relate, but everything does come together. (And in a terrifyingly-thought provoking way..)

Director Jean-Marc Vallée uses music to enrich the film and demonstrates how powerfully music can remind us of the past. The soundtrack includes: Pink Floyd, Doctor Rocket, Elisapie Isaac, The Cure, and Nine Inch Nails.

This film was nominated for 13 Genie awards, and featured at TIFF and the Venice Film Festival in 2011. Despite all the hype, it is the first movie in a while that has significantly impacted me. I cried through the whole thing (it isn’t overly sad for the average person, just too close for comfort and relatable for me perhaps..) I get emotional just thinking about it. Sigh!

The idea of a ‘soul mate’ is kind of  cheesy, but this movie makes you think they could potentially exist. Does anyone have an opinion?

I urge everyone to see Café de Flore. It is a great Canadian film, and succeeds in doing something different – at the very least, watch the trailer. (Posted at the top of this page)

Here is a clip.


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