The film deals with the themes of feminism, existentialism, and beauty. Cléo from 5 to 7 is the first Varda film out of three that I analyze on our journey through French New Wave film, and I’m very excited to see what’s in store for us based on just this one masterfully done film. The Agnès Varda film tells the story of Cléo, a singer who anxiously waits for her potentially-tragic medical results. With Corinne Marchand, Antoine Bourseiller, Dominique Davray, Dorothée Blanck. The sequence is interspersed with insert shots of her assistant and others giving her a direct stare, suggesting that Cleo registers such attention as unwanted judgment. Awaiting the results of a cancer test, she spends an agonizing two hours flitting among stores and cafes, simultaneously courting attention and deflecting it. Cléo from 5 to 7 is one of Agnes Varda’s better-known films; it represents Varda’s particular brand of feminist storytelling, standing out alongside her own documentaries and her French New Wave contemporaries as an exquisite experiment to push the bounds of what it is a film can do. Agnès Varda (French: [aɲɛs vaʁda]; born Arlette Varda, 30 May 1928 – 29 March 2019) was a Belgian-born French film director, screenwriter, photographer, and artist.Her pioneering work was central to the development of the widely influential French New Wave film movement of the 1950s and 1960s. In this time, we follow a beautiful young singer, Florence 'Cléo' Victoire, as she walks the busy streets of Paris all the while awaiting a dreaded test result from her doctor. Cleo from 5 to 7 Directed by Agnès Varda Cléo from 5 to 7 - The Aesthetics of the French New Wave In this video essay, Daniel Blumensev discusses the aesthetics and style of the French New Wave through the lens of Agnès Varda’s 1962 film, Cléo from 5 to 7. Cléo de 5 à 7 (1962 Agnès Varda) is an unusual picture that covers ninety-five minutes in the life of a Parisian actress awaiting the results of a critical medical test. Visionary of the French New Wave, Agn?s Varda captures the atmosphere of Paris in the '60s with this portrait of a singer searching for answers as she awaits test results from a biopsy. As she dejectedly discovers herself, Cleo possesses a fleeting claim to fame, one that might not even leave a lasting impression on the world. ( Log Out /  On that note, let’s talk about film! Cléo From 5 To 7 Review. Discover (and save!) At that café, a pair of women dealing with their kids at the next table is too preoccupied to notice her. Join us every Saturday in September for a French New Wave series presented by the Dallas Video Fest featuring CONTEMPT, LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD, JULES AND JIM, and CLEO FROM 5-7. And then there are the documentary elements, especially the long shots of Cleo walking amidst the crowded Parisian streets, parting the sea of humanity with her ethereal glamour. They are best known for their experimental approach in terms of editing and filming techniques. I like the general structure of this blog entry, giving the general reader an overview of just what the French New Wave movement was – something that I feel many people either don’t understand or simply don’t know about. Later, however, after Cleo’s confidence has been chipped away by increasing worry, she tries to make her way through a line of pedestrians, but no one budges. Breathless (A bout de souffle) (1960), directed by Jean-Luc Godard. (Disclaimer: I’m about to go all film-major on you guys. Got to Get Back to The Matrix! Is she now singing to us with an orchestra? An early sequence clearly marks Cleo from 5 to 7 as an artifact of the French New Wave: as Cleo (Corinne Marchand) walks down a staircase, the action is captured in a series of jump cuts that call attention to form in an exciting and then-new way. “…challenged me to think about what I praise in Black art—and why.”, “…imagines what Mrs. Riding in a car with a friend (Dorothee Blanck), Cleo reveals her illness just as they plunge into a black tunnel. Children seem to be something of a foil for Cleo, as well. Among the most enduring works of the French New Wave, Cléo from 5 to 7 follows a coquettish cabaret singer in real time as she awaits the results of a troubling medical test. How banging is that? It depicts two hours in the life of a woman wandering throughout Paris on June 22, 1961. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. The scene, which has no cuts and is one long-take, begins with the camera showing Cleo standing beside a piano as her pianist sits before the instrument and her songwriter stands behind it; out of the three characters in the frame, Cleo is the farthest away from the camera. Though visually incumbent with its New Wave siblings, Cléo from 5-7 takes a strikingly feminine approach, and an exploration of mortality, appearance, and identity. The French New Wave was mainly composed of male directors and Varda was one of the very few who were recognized among the big dogs. Varda’s film was unusual at the time of its release in that its 90-minute run time documents in real time the life of Cléo Victoire, a famous and very beautiful singer, from the hours of 5 to 7pm. The young woman spends those two hours contemplating her own mortality and seeking an empathetic ear from her friends, but she receives only apathy and detachment. À bout de souffle features Michel Poiccard, a thief and womanizer who… I also like how you keep in mind that music is an art form as well, something that many often forget. The New Wave director became known with Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962), a film on cancer that already showed her preference for a particular subject: women. As a woman who could be approaching an untimely demise, this is a terrifying prospect, and a very relatable one to the audience. From superstition to fear, from coquetry to anguish, Cleo nervously meanders through the streets of Paris for ninety minutes. This film, although being a Rive Gauche picture, consists of many New Wave stylistic and narrative features. A defining image is the one of Cleo trying on hats in a boutique, which we watch through the store’s window. First of all, the incorporation of other art forms. And if that’s true, that may very well be what Varda was doing in Cléo from 5 to 7: creating the kind of fully-realized female character that her French New Wave contemporaries rarely bothered to envision. The entire sequence popped back into my mind as I read the descriptions, especially that moment when Cleo breaks the fourth wall and looks as if she is addressing the audience, complete with extreme emotion and a completely black background (right?). (That means “see you again,” or “til next time,” so, yeah, come back real soon now, ya’ll. Is this the haunting prospect of motherhood, something Cleo may have not previously considered but is now possibly slipping from her grasp? “My body makes me happy,” the friend replies, “not proud.”. You’re progress on analyzing Cleo From 5 to 7 definitely shows the fruits of your labor after this semester-long study you’ve done with the film. Varda’s second film and most famous fictional feature, 1962’s Cléo from 5 to 7, is considered a masterwork of the French New Wave: “The first … The film features a score by Michel Legrand (Umbrellas of Cherbourg) and cameos … The most blatant and noticeable art form outside of film that Varda incorporates into Cleo is music. In another scene, Cleo marches past a lone child banging on a toy piano on the sidewalk without acknowledging his presence. There are other various things that make this film stand out as one of the greatest examples of the New Wave/Left Bank Movement, such as the incorporation of a short-film “Anna” and experimental camera movements that were typically used with handheld cameras for documentaries, but overall, the coolest tidbit associated with this film that I’d like to leave you with is the fact that the entire film is exactly 90 minutes long…which means that yes, it is set in real time, and it depicts every excruciating minute that Cleo must wait to find out the results of her test. Agnes Varda 's "Cleo from 5 to 7" is 90 minutes long, but its clock seems to tick along with Cleo's. As Cleo rehearses a potential new song in her studio, the camera mimics the swinging rhythm of her personal assistant (Dominique Davray), who is listening and swaying in the background. The “wall of sound” with the addition of more instruments is also very interesting, making for a blur: what exactly is going on? Cleo from 5 to 7 An early sequence clearly marks Cleo from 5 to 7 as an artifact of the French New Wave: as Cleo (Corinne Marchand) walks down a staircase, the action is captured in a series of jump cuts that call attention to form in an exciting and then-new way. Brace yourselves.). She was best known for the films "Cléo from 5 to 7" and "Vagabond" and was … The French New Wave marks a radical experiment in the making of film characterized by improvised dialogue and a shattering of cinematographic convention up until that time. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. This film technique works with Varda’s overall goal of achieving complete focus on Cleo’s anxiety, but Varda also demonstrates another element of the Left Bank movement by fusing non-diegetic sound with diegetic sound to make a song that only the audience can hear in its full spectrum. Simply being in her company, especially amidst the somewhat suffocating masculinity of the French New Wave, is enough. 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