1001 Flicks

Regularly updated blog charting the most important films of the last 104 years.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

383. Cléo de 5 a 7 (Cleo from 5 to 7) (1962)

Directed By Agnes Varda


The film follows two hours of a pop-star's life, while she waits for some biopsy results which will tell her whether she has cancer.


Agnes Varda is one of the great, if not the greatest female director of the French New Wave. In a film style that is kind of defined by the misogyny of Godard, it makes it quite fresh.

Varda was married to Jacques Demy, and that shows through in this film, there are similarities throughout with Demy's Lola, not only due to the central character being a beautiful and troubled woman, but in a certain lightness of touch absent from the dourer films of Godard. The importance of music is another thing that connects Lola and Cleo.

That being said while Lola is a film seen very much through a man's eyes, Cleo is a much more female-centred film, which is very much not to be confused with it being a "chick-flick". The way the film develops almost in real time is a really interesting exercise, as is the shifts in perspective from one character to the next, all of the shifts being signalled through subtitles in the film. Cleo is a slightly annoying character, but one who slowly improves as her priorities in life shift throughout the film and by the end you can see her on a path going beyond superficiality. Good film.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

The film includes cameos by Jean-Luc Godard, Anna Karina, Eddie Constantine and Jean-Claude Brialy as characters in the silent film Raoul shows Cleo and Dorothee, while composer Michel Legrand, who wrote the film's score, plays "Bob the pianist". It was entered into the 1962 Cannes Film Festival.



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