Friday evening it brought me much joy to walk in my front door and find a new pair of headphones waiting for me. In case you didn’t hear what happened to my old headphones, well, someone decided that the cable would make a pretty tasty snack.
The thing is, through the last several years, my headphones have become a rather ubiquitous part of my identity…and even in days past when I favoured buds over cans, the point is that music was almost always close at-hand. So it should come as no small surprise to anybody who knows me to hear that film about the love of music – and all the romantic notions that come with that love – ranks amongst my favorite films of the decade.
In thinking about CAFE DE FLORE, I think about how both of its interwoven tales touch on the way music happens to us: the way music chooses us as much as we choose it. In one story, the titular song is one of the great loves of a child’s life. In the other story, the same song just happens to get played at a party when an adult meets the great love of his life. Such is the way with music in this new decade, especially when it isn’t so much accessible as it is inescapable.
We used to be spoon fed our music. The songs and albums that dotted our lives came from friends, relatives, or a mysterious disembodied voice choosing tracks at a radio station. Sometimes your first kiss happened to Alicia Keys, sometimes it happened to The Bee Gees. You had no control, it was all up to fate…if you believe in such things.
Now the entirety of musical history – give or take a Taylor Swift – is available for our consumption and programming. It’s easier to fall in like, but harder to fall in love. We don’t gaze longingly at the stranger across the room at the party so much as we linger on every face on the dance floor for a few moments. We have complete control, we are the masters of our own destinies…if you believe in such things.
With that in mind, I feel like CAFE DE FLORE is a wonderful snapshot of an artform in flux. It reminds us of how uncertain so many things are, and how much more we can still want from life. Like the song or band that unexpectedly becomes your favorite, it shows how what can seem like a chance encounter can in fact be the beginning of something deep…and how it can all start so innocently.
So while I continue to burn-in my new headphones with both new fixations and long-lasting love affairs, take a moment and visit one of the best Canadian films of this century, and one of the very best movies of the decade so far.
Then go out to a record store…and buy yourself some music.
Click below for my original review of CAFE DE FLORE, and feel free to leave comments with your thoughts on this film and its place in the decade so far.