Cléo from 5 to 7 – Agnès Varda (1962)


Cléo from 5 to 7 (French: Cléo de 5 à 7 [kle.o də sɛ̃k a sɛt]) is a 1962 French Left Bank film by Agnès Varda. The story starts with a young singer, Florence ‘Cléo’ Victoire, at 5pm on June 21, as she waits until 6:30pm to hear the results of a medical test that will possibly confirm a diagnosis of cancer. The film is noted for its handling of several of the themes of existentialism, including discussions of mortality, the idea of despair, and leading a meaningful life. The film also has a strong feminine viewpoint belonging to French feminism and raises questions about how women are perceived, especially in French society. Mirrors appear frequently to symbolize self-obsession, which Cléo embodies. The film includes cameos by Jean-Luc Godard, Anna Karina, Eddie Constantine and Jean-Claude Brialy as characters in the silent film Raoul shows Cléo and Dorothée, while composer Michel Legrand, who wrote the film’s score, plays ‘Bob the pianist’. It was entered into the 1962 Cannes Film Festival. … While the film takes place in France, away from the Algerian front, the influence of Algerian war for independence is still strong. The war greatly affected France during the 1950s and 1960s, where the demands for decolonization were the strongest. The soldier who Cléo meets towards the end of the film, Antoine, is on temporary leave from fighting in Algeria. Antoine also builds on the theme of existentialism that the film conveys, with his claims that the people in Algeria are dying for nothing. There are also protests on the street that Cléo encounters while taking a taxi back to her home. Cléo from 5 to 7 embodies the stereotypes that men subject women to and their oppressiveness. Cléo commonly complains that no one takes her seriously since she’s a woman, and that the men think that she’s faking her illness for attention. She seems to go along with these stereotypes as well, as many women in France did, telling herself essentially that beauty is everything by saying ‘as long as I’m beautiful, I’m alive.’ Beginning in the 1940s, the French intellectual scene was dominated by existentialism, a movement in philosophy that would greatly influence art in France well into the 1960s.[4] Cléo from 5 to 7 is largely an existential film, as for the entirety of the film, Cléo struggles with her existence and the potential of facing her mortality.  …”
Wikipedia
How Cleo from 5 to 7 portrays a city under the female gaze
New Yorker – What to Stream This Weekend: Agnès Varda’s Chronicle of a Parisian Pop Star’s Dread-Filled Afternoon By Richard Brody
Criterion
YouTube: Cléo From 5 to 7, CLEO FROM 5 TO 7 ANALYSIS, Agnès Varda. Cléo from 5 to 7. 2004 45:26

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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