Cleo From 5 to 7 (Cléo de 5 à 7)
Release year: 1962
Director: Agnès Varda
Screenwriter: Agnès Varda
Starring: Corrine Marchand, Antoine Bourseiller, Dominique Davray, Dorothée Blanck, José Luis de Vilallonga, Michel Legrand, Loye Payen
Ratings: Nominated to Palme d’Or in Cannes 1962.
Young Cleo (Marchand) wanders the streets of Paris while she awaits test results telling her if she has cancer.
Considering how little takes place in Varda’s story of Cleo it is remarkable how captivated she holds you throughout the story. A big part is the mesmerizing Marchand (Le passager de la pluie, 1970) who is constantly present in the movie shot in real time but also due to the small curiosities she encounters along the way in form of people and situations. The movie gives a nice insight into 1960s Paris which adds a huge extra dimension to the modern audience but it also leaves you pondering on you own thoughts of life and death as Cleo’s are constantly affected by the city and its people. The illness around which the movie centers is horrible making the beauty of the movie even more remarkable and the way a lot of the dialogue comes from what you pick up from people around Cleo talking to each other invites the audience to reflect over life in the way you come to understand Cleo does. Cleo is an interesting character, starting out as vain and childish we watch her mature in the dire situation and all the way through keeps you interested. Marchand looks as stunning as the Paris surrounding her making the movie one to spoil you senses to a degree where you almost smell the city. But the small encounters, glimpses of life around Cleo and the affect the people have on her are by far the most beautiful thing about this charming and existential drama.
Jean-Luc Godard, Anna Karina, and Jean-Claude Brialy all make uncredited cameo appearances as the actors in the silent film shown to Cléo and her friend.
After it was first screened in 1962, Cléo de 5 à 7 was selected for competition at the Cannes Film Festival and fifty years later was again chosen in a restored version for the Cannes Classic section
The film is included on Roger Ebert’s “Great Movies” list.
You can read more about Agnès Varda and Cleo From 5 to 7 here.