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Cleo From 5 to 7 (Subtitled) (Widescreen) (The Criterion Collection)
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Visionary of the French New Wave, Agnès Varda captures the atmosphere of Paris in the '60s with this portrait of a singer searching for answers as she awaits test results from a biopsy. A chronicle of two crucial hours in one woman's life, Cléo from 5 to 7 is a spirited mix of vivid vérité and melodrama. The film features a score by Michel Legrand (Umbrellas of Cherbourg) and cameos by Legrand, Jean-Luc Godard, and Anna Karina. Criterion is proud to present Cléo from 5 to 7 in a beautiful digital transfer supervised by the director, with the color opening sequence restored.
Agnes Varda, the lone woman in the French New Wave boys' club, made her reputation with her second feature Cleo from 5 to 7, a 90-minute drama set in real time exploring the internal turmoil of a flighty young pop singer who awaits the results of a medical examination for cancer. Leaving behind her elegant, almost antiseptic apartment for the bustle of the Parisian streets, she weaves through crowds and watches street performers while struggling with her fears and self-recriminations, confronting her shortcomings and finding hope in a chance meeting with a young soldier. Varda captures the vibrant social world and its easy rhythms in creamy black and white with smooth long takes, bringing an almost tactile quality to Cleo's personal odyssey, punctuated with chapter titles marking the time until her appointment at the hospital. Corinne Marchand's Cleo enters as a spoiled adolescent, but introspective internal monologues and brief encounters with strangers etch a portrait of a woman hiding her fears under a façade of flightiness, only discarding the mask when she firmly embraces life in the face of possible death. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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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.
The adventures of Cleo during the two hours (real time and cinematic time) of waiting reveal the gradual peeling away of her narcissism. Another alert reviewer spoke about "reading" this film. He gave as an example the time on the clocks every time Cleo walks by one. An even more subtle and more telling example of how the visual images express the plot development and the transformation of the main character is in the reflections seen in windows and mirrors. During her more narcissistic moments at the beginning of the film we note that every time Cleo walks by a window we see her reflection, and she often notices it as well. As the film progresses the reflections in windows and mirrors gradually diminishes. By the end of the film there are no more windows and mirrors and Cleo is just her human self -- without the added narcissistic reflections.
In the last twenty minutes or so of the film Cleo has what approximates an unpretentious reloationship with an ordinary fellow, a soldier on leave who is about to return to his unit to fight in Algeria. He agrees to accompany her to the hospital where she is about to get her test results. When they arrive the doctor is not there. In resignation they walk out only to encounter the doctor leaving in his car.Read more ›
Cleo's a pop singer. She sings light ditties that get French radio play. She spends her time shopping for hats, hanging out in cafes, carrying on meaningless-if-romantic affairs with songwriters. She's beautiful. She's fashionable. On the surface, she looks like she's having a good time. And she usually is.
This movie's about what she did in the two hours before receiving her prognosis from her doctor. Should she just go on and live life as if nothing's come along to trouble her? If she chooses to, how does she go about confronting her own mortality?
Corinne Marchand, as Cleo, chooses both paths for her. As she wanders the streets of Paris, she plays Cleo as though she's unable to decide whether to be happy-go-lucky. Thus, the lush, beautiful film by Agnes Varda is both light and resonant, fun and meaningful.
It's like an "Amelie" that will make you cry as well as laugh.
Done in a style predating the French New Wave, it manages to be about how to go shopping when you may be about to die.
And the Criterion release is just great.
Most recent customer reviews
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film. As a cancer survivor, I feel for the woman in this movie. Read morePublished on May 25 2004 by Ted
totally engrosses the viewer to live the 2 hours that Cleo lives. Varda sets divided then sets up the chapters of the film into atmospheres that reveal so mouch more about our lead... Read morePublished on March 18 2002 by Stephen Provencio
In my view, Agnes Varda, with the possible exception of Alain Resnais, is the most underrated French New Wave director. Read morePublished on Jan. 7 2002
What's wonderful about this film has already been pretty well described in many of the preceding reviews. I'd just like to add two things. Read morePublished on Dec 3 2001 by inframan
Perhaps Cleo, or, indeed, Corinne Marchand, is an existentialist, because she faces the prospect of a diagnosis of cancer with remarkable equanimity. Read morePublished on June 8 2001 by Robert Bezimienny
What to praise most? The beauty and talent of Corinne Marchand as Cleo? The superior directing skill and incomparable style of Agnes Varda? Read morePublished on May 23 2001 by Colin Paterson
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