4 BY AGNES VARDA
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A married couple has troubles in their small village a singer awaits test results from a biopsy a married man has an affair with a postal worker follows the life of a drifter found frozen in a ditch through flashbacks.
Genre: Foreign Video - French
Release Date: 0000-00-00
Media Type: DVD
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Top Customer Reviews
Let's start with the box itself. The matte finish, fonts, photos are beautifully wrought. Take a peek inside the box and you'll find photos reproduced on the INSIDE, where you can only get a peek at them. Each DVD case is similarly wonderful.
The written material is a thoughtful introduction to and examination of Varda's oeuvre. The special features included on each disc are great complements to the films themselves.
And speaking of the films themselves... That's what it's all about. Varda would be a cinematic master just with "Cleo de 5 a 7", the greatest real-time movie of all time. Just to have that is worth the price of the set. But, you also get three more of her works, each one a joy to watch.
Five stars all the way.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
After Jacques Demy's Lola, his wife's Agnès Varda's Cléo de cinq à sept (1962), is the second Nouvelle Vague Rive gauche (Left Bank of the Seine River) production review, to be followed by Alain Resnais' La guerre est finie (1966), and finally short films by Rive gauche auteurs (Marker, Varda and Resnais).
There is a famous production shot of Cléo: The heroine on a bed in her studio, attended by about twelve men (technicians und beauticians at all levels), behind her Agnès Varda at the camera. So what appears as a first woman's movie is actually still in the man's world of the movies, where women are just the stars. I do not remember how women's lib reacted to it, but it remains an amazing film, and Agnès Varda, a very feminine figure, an exception to the rule. It also gives us a view of pre-1968 Paris, and is a deeply personal, never voyeuristic event.
Cléo, in a way like High Noon, the Western (Fred Zinnemann, 1952), is a real time movie, from five to seven. The lead, intelligently played by beautiful Corinne Marchand, is a singer who, this late afternoon, in understandable anxiety, awaits her specialist doctor's verdict on a detailed cancer test. With her servant and a friend, she runs various errands to kill time, visits a fortune teller, and, finally, is on her walk through Paris towards the hospital to collect the doctor's verdict. She is accompanied by a soldier on leave from the Algerian war, a chance meeting. The doctor's verdict is clear, but he sees considerable chances to heal by treatment.
What Jacques Demy's Lola (1962) addressed in a lighter form is here a more explicit, quasi an urban form of existentialism, with the themes of self-obsession (hence the many mirrors), mortality, despair. The film has a strong feminine viewpoint, asking how women are perceived. Cléo finds herself questioning the doll-like image people have of her, and is overcome by a feeling of isolation from her nearest. It is typically only in the company of a stranger - a soldier, who is regularly exposed to death - that she is able to have a sincere conversation that eventually put her problems in perspective.
The film includes a short silent slapstick strip with cameos by Jean-Luc Godard, Anna Karina, Eddie Constantine and Jean-Claude Brialy as characters. While full of cinematographic quotes - like Lumière's L'arroseur arose - it reminds you of the dream sequence insets in Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries (1958). Most unusual, but fitting very well into the wider Dance des morts-motif of the film.
Varda is now making documentaries. I just watched The Gleaners and I and also highly recommend it.
The Criterion set has many interesting interviews that make the collection more valuable.
I note that a volume 2 of Varda films is available, but only in PAL and region 2. I look forward to a release of volume 2 in a region 1 format.
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