Cléo from 5 to 7 Screen 6 articles

Cléo from 5 to 7

1962

Cléo from 5 to 7 Poster
  • Beautifully shot and realized, [it] offers an irreplaceable time capsule of Paris, and fans of Michel Legrand won't want to miss the extended sequence in which he visits the heroine and rehearses with her. The film's approximations of real time are exactly that, but innovative and thrilling nonetheless. Underrated when it came out and unjustly neglected since, it's not only the major French New Wave film made by a woman, but a key work of that exciting period—moving, lyrical, and mysterious.

  • All of existence, in this work, is intimately orchestrated, choreographed, and meaningful, but, crucially, only for this one moment. The fortune-teller is no mere character but a marker for a structural division that cleaves the entirety of the film.

  • When Cléo’s in a taxi and Varda’s shooting from the backseat through the windshield and playing a news broadcast about the Algerian War, the gravity is inescapable. The closer Cléo gets to her diagnosis, the more omens she encounters, and the greater the tension. And at the end of Cléo’s odyssey, the catharsis is all the stronger for having gone through the wringer with her.

  • Varda has placed her warm, witty personality front and center in many of her documentaries, but her charm bubbles to the surface even in this fictive tragedy, charting a few hours in the life of a woman faced suddenly with the certainty of her death.

  • The film often reveals something about human nature not through pathos but tongue-in-cheek humor. Yet the film’s best moments combine both, at the same time or in a sudden, breathtaking shift as mercurial and moody as its heroine.

  • Every so often, usually while walking around Toronto on a busy day, I'll be struck by the vividness and accuracy of Agnès Varda's singular portrayal of a day in the life (barely two hours, really, making it even more remarkable) spent in the various layers and spaces of the urban environment.

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