Cléo de 5 à 7 (1962)
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A must see for all fans of the French New Wave. Great film with a gorgeous lead, incredibly clever editing techniques, and a lot of passion and charm.
A great movie. A little lagging toward the middle but picks up once Cleo comes into her own.
Cléo from 5 to 7 is Agnès Varda's second feature film, seven years after her debut, and I think it taps into a lot of the same things as La Pointe-Courte. Again we have a rich world filled with life (and cats!), and a protagonist that seems oblivious to it, Varda placing Cléo (Corinne Marchand) in real Paris locations and using documentary methods to get her shots. There are a lot of shots of real people looking at the camera, which creates Cléo's point of view, as if she was turning heads everywhere she went. It works because this is a film about self-centeredness and narcissism. The conceit is that we're watching 90 minutes of Cléo's life, in real time (what happens between 6:30 and 7 is part of the film's ambiguity), as she anxiously awaits medical test results. Her dread makes her selfish and self-obsessed, as it might anyone, and she tries to distract herself with hat shopping and other games of vanity, but keeps being reminded of her problems (because everything must be about her, of course). Cléo is probably self-centered normally. And that's where Parisian life comes into play, various dramas playing out in Cléo's vicinity, in a way all speaking to a certain selfishness in other characters. Perhaps I'm being unkind, perhaps I should simply say that the film recognizes that each person can only really view the world with a single point of view, though it's not impossible for people to share. Varda sets the film in her immediate present and current affairs (namely what's happening in Algeria) translates France into Cléo's character, a self-centered (read: colonial) nation, perhaps even a diseased one. From the intimate to a wider tapestry in less time than the film's title indicates, and plenty of cool experiments with color, editing, and camera angles. La Pointe-Courte could almost be said to be a happy accident, but Cléo is damn confident and clever. Even Varda's earliest work was no fluke.
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This movie ranks #2 in BBC's The 100 Greatest Films Directed by Women
This movie ranks #23 in Time Out's The 100 Best French Films
This movie ranks #27 in IMDb's Music Top 50
This movie ranks #72 in The Criterion Collection
This movie ranks #156 in The New York Times's Book of Movies
This movie ranks #161 in Harvard's Suggested Film Viewing: Narrative Films
This movie ranks #239 in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films
This movie ranks #249 in Mark Cousins's The Story of Film: An Odyssey
This movie ranks #290 in Sight & Sound's The Greatest Films of All Time
This movie ranks #294 in BFI's 360 Classic Feature Films Project
This movie ranks #374 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #404 in Roger Ebert's Great Movies
This movie ranks #456 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
This movie ranks #480 in Jonathan Rosenbaum's Essential Cinema