Analyzing Agnes Varda's Film 'Cleo'

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Agnes Varda’s film Cleo from 5 to 7, was released in 1962. The film can be viewed as a documentary of Paris in the 60’s as well as a story of personal woes. Varda herself once said that the film was “the portrait of a woman painted onto a documentary.” The title can be derived from the French saying, Cinq à sept, which literally translates to five to seven, which is a term used to describe the time before dinner in which people gather, a colloquial way of saying it would be, happy hour. The film opens at 5 P.M. with Cleo visiting a fortuneteller who conveys to her the unfortunate news that she is dying. From the beginning of the film, superstitions play a key role for Cleo. Especially since one would normally just await for results and not try and “see” the future. However for Cleo, once the fortuneteller reveals the death card, the film turns to black and white and Cleo’s paranoia begins. The idea of “happy hour” is a far cry from the afternoon in which Cleo embarks upon, rather the audience sees her at her worst. Cleo becomes very nervous and anxious and her meetings with friends are used as distractions for herself, as well as the audience. Varda wants the audience to see Cleo as a vain, self-absorbed, young…show more content…
From the opening of the film her beauty is a key priority. After she receives the “news” from the fortuneteller, she proceeds to remind her self that “ugliness is a kind of death. As long as I’m beautiful, I’m even more alive than the others”. That type of sass and attitude are hard to overlook and not be an attribution of who she is. Her physical appearance hurts and helps her likeability to the audience because while she is portrayed at first as being vein, she also can be seen as free-thinking, when she has her inner monologue where she decides her looks will keep her healthy, she is in her own way being a strong

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