Best of… Series – 1962 – Cleo From 5 to 7

As a way to mix some of my old reviews in with my new reviews, I’m doing a Best of… Series. In this series, I will review my favorite movie of each year.

Cleo From 5 to 7 (Agnes Varda, 1962)

This movie was nothing like I expected it to be, and it was fantastic. Honestly, I don’t know what I expected, but I was surprised to see that this film was nearly everything I look for in a movie. The cinematography was great. Everything from the long tracking shots to the often-used beautiful natural outdoor lighting made for a very visually pleasing film. Additionally, I liked Varda’s occasional use of first-person perspective, and the way she used subtle jump cuts.

The most surprising element of the film was how poetic it all was. Yes, there were parts (towards the beginning and middle) that were dialogue heavy but, quite frankly, the dialogue meant very little for the most part. It was easy to fall into Cleo’s shoes and know that people were talking, but to push it into the background and focus on the setting and surroundings (and what a beautiful setting!). Varda also uses some great, yet sparse voiceovers. They don’t come often, but when they are used, they are great. For many scenes, though, the characters sit, walk, and/or drive in silence as nothing but the fantastic score lingers in the background.

All of these features get style points, but the characterization of this film is also a plus. Cleo is a simple woman dealing with a complex time in her life. She has many friends that we meet and spend time with – some likeable, some not. And we eventually see her longing for and possibly finding love during the last 20 minutes, which sounds a bit sentimental, but is presented in a way that is not. Just about perfect.  9.75/10

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2 Responses to “Best of… Series – 1962 – Cleo From 5 to 7”

  1. Have you seen the recent autobiographical documentary by Agnes Varda? I think one can stream it on netflix (or you could a few weeks ago)… I haven’t seen enough of her movies yet — so, I’m waiting on watching the documentary….

    On a separate note, have you seen anything by Peter Watkins?

    • Yeah, I saw that documentary a while back. I didn’t care for it, but everyone else seems to love it.

      I’ve seen Edvard Munch, Punishment Park, Culloden, and The War Game. Liked them all except Punishment Park.

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