This stunning and spirited breakthrough film from Agnès Varda, the primary female director of the French New Wave, is a real-time portrait of a beautiful singer set adrift in Paris as she awaits the potentially life-changing results of a medical test.
“Cléo from 5 to 7 plays today as startlingly modern. Released in 1962, it seems as innovative and influential as any New Wave film.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Cléo from 5 to 7 details an hour and a half in the life of Cléo (Corinne Marchand), a French pop singer anxiously awaiting news from her doctor regarding a biopsy. Traveling across Paris as she waits to learn her fate, Cléo’s journey through the city, which encompasses a rich series of encounters from shopping to falling in love with a soldier on leave, eventually becomes a journey of self-discovery. Vain, childish and selfish at the start, she transforms over the course of the film’s 90 minutes from a passive young woman into an active participant in her own life. A moving, mysterious and lyrical chronicle of the minutes of one woman’s life as she faces her own mortality, Cléo from 5 to 7 is a strikingly innovative mix of vivid vérité and melodrama, featuring a score by Michel Legrand (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg) and cameo appearances by New Wave royalty Jean-Luc Godard and Anna Karina. Beautifully shot and realized by photographer-turned-filmmaker Varda, this key work of the French New Wave also serves as an eloquent and unforgettable snapshot of Paris in the sixties. (Dir. by Agnès Varda, 1962, France, in French with subtitles, 90 mins., Not Rated)