13 September, 2011
by Sandy Mandelberger, North American Editor
The Quebec director Jean-Marc Vallee first made significant waves in 2005 with his rock-infused coming-of-age film C.R.A.Z.Y., which won major prizes on the international film festival circuit and was sold to almost 50 international territories (a strong statement for a French language Canadian film). Unfortunately, its success was not matched in the United States, where it played at the New Directors/New Films festival and other prestigious events, but never got theatrically released.
In the years since, the director made his English language debut with THE YOUNG VICTORIA, a period costumer about England’s Queen Victoria that starred Emily Blunt. Now Vallee has returned to his Franco roots with CAFÉ DE FLORE, which had its world premiere last week at the Venice Film Festival and makes its North American bow in Toronto this week. The Canadian/French co-production is set in 1969 Paris and also in contemporary Montreal. It stars French pop star and actress Vanessa Paradis (aka Mrs. Johnny Depp) as the mother of a child with down syndrome. As in his previous films, the soundtrack of pop music greatly enhances the atmosphere and overall mood. The film has strong advance buzz and this time Monsieur Vallee should see his American theatrical ambitions met.