Café de Flore is the eagerly awaited movie from celebrated Montreal director Jean-Marc Vallée. Vallée, director of C.R.A.Z.Y. (one of the best Montreal films ever made) and The Young Victoria starring Emily Blunt and Paul Bettany, is bringing his latest film to his hometown of Montreal for a premiere at our city’s most glamorous cinema, the Imperial. The red-carpet affair and the premiere party afterwards promises to be glam—the star of Café de Flore is French singer/actress/bombshell Vanessa Paradis, wife of Johnny Depp…
Café de Flore, an uncommon love story that spans decades, is told in a cross-cut back-and-forth style that showcases two very different landscapes—1960s Montmartre, where Vanessa Paradis’ character is a single mom of a young boy with Down syndrome, and present-day Montreal, where hometown actor Kevin Parent is navigating a thorny midlife crisis. The movie talks about that but what comes out is love, the power of love, the goodness of love and the destruction of love in all its forms.
“The script had me captivated and I lived very beautiful moments on set,” says Paradis. “I saw the film for the first time yesterday, and it was very clear to me that it’s about love, in all its forms—there is a bit of each character in all of us. It’s a movie that makes you think, and feel, and dialogue—while we were shooting, I felt inspired and full of oxygen and I relived that a bit last night while seeing the movie.”
Paradis says that she was attracted to the project by the script, as well as the prospect of working with Vallée, who also wrote the script. She says he’s a director who’s “all heart, as good at the emotional side of a story and the technical aspects of shooting a film,” and that she is looking forward to premiering the film in Montreal, a city she loves.
“The movie was born here, and it comes out in France a lot later,” she says. “The premiere in Montreal is the first time we’ll all be together with the Canadian cast and crew, it’ll be great.”
Vallée, for his part, says that though he adores shooting in Paris, he was happy to film half of his story at home in Montreal, where he was delighted to be able to ride a Bixi to work on-set—a rare privilege, he says.
“I had to shoot in Plateau Mont-Royal because it was a perfect setting for this story,” says Vallée. “My characters live near Parc Lafontaine and I shot in the park with all the chairs on Roy and St. André. Ultimately, the Plateau Mont-Royal was perfect to establish these characters and to setup a landscape that was totally different from the scenes in France. I still live there, I love it there, and it’s where my characters can flourish. The other place I’d like to live and work, is in the Mile-End, because you have Café Olympico and Genevieve Grandbois with her caramels a fleur de sel. Oh yes.”
The Café de Flore premiere and red carpet is on September 14 at the Cinéma Impérial. The film opens in theatres on September 23.