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Joel Mayward

Film Club April 2017: Cleo from 5 to 7

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My apologies for the delay in posting a discussion thread. For April 2017, I'm choosing Agnes Varda's 1962 film Cleo from 5 to 7. Inspired partly by the current Varda marathon happening on the Filmspotting podcast, as well as my recent discovery of Varda's The Gleaners and I on Amazon Prime, this is a film often cited as one of her best. Playing out in real time, with chapters and sequences tracked by titles every few minutes, the film follows a beautiful young singer, Cleo, as she wanders about Paris awaiting the results from a biopsy, which will tell her if she has cancer or not. The opening title sequence using tarot cards and the only colorized moments in the film set the tone for an unique, intriguing journey alongside Cleo as she navigates her own emotions about the impending news.

I loved it. It's a bit languid at times, but it's also quite exciting, even as it simply follows a young woman around as she talks with various friends about her life and future. It's a beautiful contribution to the French New Wave, and has fascinating formal elements as well as interesting themes to discuss ranging from art, to the nature of romance, to spirituality vs. medicine. I believe it's streaming on Fandor, and perhaps on Filmstruck. I watched it via the Criterion DVD rented through the library.

Roger Ebert's review.

Josh Larsen's review.

Molly Haskell essay.

A recent interview with Varda at Criterion, "I'm Still Here."

Our woefully sparse A&F thread.

 

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This looks like one I'll have to ship in on DVD from Netflix, but I'm looking forward to checking it out.

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It's great. I've taught it in first-year and film history courses as a representative New Wave film, which it really is.

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I finally got my DVD in, so I'll be catching this sometime this weekend.

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