Sunday 11 December 2011
Cleo from 5 to 7 
The French Nouvelle Vague movement is renowned for its dare and iconoclasm – after all, Messrs. Godard and Co. attempted to rewrite the very language of the medium. Though Agnes Varda’s Cleo from 5 to 7 did belong to the iconic movement, it would perhaps rank as one of the most simple and unassuming works to have emerged out of it. The movie didn’t have any grand socio-political agenda; rather, by depicting two hours in the life of its titular character, all that the director attempted was portrayal of the inner workings of a woman’s mind and in the process filtering the profound from the mundane. Cleo (marvelously played by Corinne Marchand) is an extremely beautiful but a seemingly shallow and self-absorbed woman, and a famous Parisian pop singer, who is anxiously awaiting the results a clinical examination result of hers. Shot in real-time, and broken into a number of small episodes of varying durations, this is a freewheeling portrayal of the various interactions that she has over the said duration (with her lover, her friends, her professional acquaintances, and even a stranger), as also the entire emotional spectrum that she traverses in the process. Within the first few minutes of the movie it would be easy for most viewers, as it was for me, to form the opinion that she is as frivolous and spoilt as a layperson expects a pop star to be; but, by the time this briskly paced and exquisitely photographed movie (shot in cinema verite style) concluded, I realized that the bitterly lonely and inwardly troubled Cleo isn’t just a charming and pretty face, but also a layered individual with considerable depth of character.
Director: Agnes Varda
Genre: Drama/Urban Drama/Psychological Drama/Avante-Garde