Cleo From 5 to 7

Dir/Writer: Agnes Varda. 1962. Starring: C. Marchand, A. Bourseille, D. Davray, D. Blanc, M. Legrand. French. Drama/Foreign.
Cleo From 5 to 7

What defines the feminine experience? What does it mean to live, breathe, and die as a woman? Agnes Varda questions mortality through the eyes of a beautiful young woman on the edge of success in 1960's Paris. Cleo has been to the doctor and is waiting for the diagnosis, though she's convinced it's cancer. We follow her in real time for two hours and stand as witness to the fullness and frivolousness of a life coming to terms with itself.

Death and despair compel the coquettish Cleo into existential searching meeting with friends, lovers and strangers and we see her precise steps into and out of an other's preconceived perception. Coy lover, whimpering child, precocious beauty, passionate collaborator, old friend and lovely stranger: Cleo is all of these but then so much more as you realize she is fast forwarding the journey to find herself the anchor that she desperately needs to face her death and to fight for life.

Written and directed by Agnes Varda Cleo From 5 to 7 is considered part of the French New Wave cinema and absolutely incorporates the naturalistic camera work so unique within the era. The luminous Corinne Marchand engages us while the lens keeps us intimately by her side on the bed, at the cafe, in a crowd, or on a bus and you feed on her isolation, her growing need for self and self expression. Even more amazing is that it is the discovery of a woman deciding what kind of woman she will be while accepting the idea that she is fleeting and that the only meaning in her life that matters is the meaning she gathers for herself.

Full of depth within the written word and layers of distinct direction Agnes Varda proves to be a visionary, not only from within her own generation of auteurs but among history's list of artists who are masters of their craft and of the human experience.

Posted by:
Jessica Kaman
May 31, 2008 3:13pm
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