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Cléo from 5 to 7 film image, people staring at broken mirror

Cléo from 5 to 7

Cléo de 5 a 7

Pantheon

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Most history books tie the beginning of the French New Wave with the release of Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless in 1959. But that is to ignore Agnes Varda’s debut feature, La Pointe Courte (1955). Varda’s second feature, Cléo from 5 to 7 is a marvelous real-time portrait of a young pop singer, Cléo Victoire (Corinne Marchand) one evening in Paris as she nervously awaits the results from a biopsy. Despite her anxiety, Cléo is essentially young and frivolous; it’s this discrepancy that makes the film so charming and so poignant: most of the action is as trivial as, well, trying on different hats, yet these superficial moments of everyday life are accentuated by the understanding that Cléo’s time is numbered. This sense of impermanence is itself balanced by the novelty of the film playing out in real time… and seeing it today, more than sixty years later, it’s also an astonishingly vivid time capsule, transporting us to an era of giddy reinvention.

Jean-Luc Godard, Anna Karina, Eddie Constantine, Sami Frey, Danièle Delorme, Jean-Claude Brialy and Yves Robert appear in a silent film-within-the film, and composer Michel Legrand also has a small role as Bob, Cléo’s piano player.

Cléo from 5 to 7 came in at #14 in Sight & Sound’s 2020 poll of the greatest films ever made.

Sunday’s Pantheon screening will be preceded by a 15 minute introductory lecture and feature a book club-style discussion afterwards.

 

Mar 17: Introduced by Su-Anne Yeo, who researches and teaches in the areas of film studies, media studies, and cultural studies, with a specialization in Asian and Asian diasporic screen cultures at UBC and Emily Carr.

 

So elegant, so stylish, so extremely and eternally cool.

Luke Buckmaster, The Guardian

With the kind of playfulness that Varda enjoyed so much, we could call this ticking-clock film timeless. From the feminist analysis of a woman’s commodified beauty and a celebrity’s self-regarding narcissism to the vulnerable heroine acting out her messy emotions in public, the spectre of war and the fear of disease darkening a midsummer day, Cléo from 5 to 7 feels pertinent to the modern moment. It always will. Marchand’s Cléo was pinned in a point in time, but the film marches on, playing on a loop in our imaginations.

Pamela Hutchinson, Sight & Sound

 

Presented by

Director

Agnès Varda

Cast

Corinne Marchand, Antoine Bourseiller, Dominique Davray, Dorothée Blank, Michel Legrand

Credits
Country of Origin

France

Year

1961

Language

In French with English subtitles

19+
89 min

Book Tickets

This event has passed.

Credits

Producer

Georges de Beauregard

Screenwriter

Agnès Varda

Cinematography

Jean Rabier, Alain Levent, Paul Bonis

Editor

Janine Verneau, Pascale Laverrière

Original Music

Michel Legrand

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