Cléo From 5 to 7

Director: Agnès Varda
Year Released: 1962
Rating: 2.5

Ah! Here is a film Hollywood would love to remake concept-wise, but add tons of theatrical and dramatic moments throughout, alter the ending, and turn everything into a wacky affair ("She may be dying, but she's going out with a bang."). But Varda's vision is much more relaxed, calm and flat (perhaps too flat) - like a lot of other French filmmakers, Varda's interested in real lives, not dramatized ones: long drives, walks through the park, arguments, shopping, trips to the movie theater. And while the somber tone (and B & W cinematography) matches the heroine's temperament - she had tests run by the hospital, and it's only a couple of hours until she finds out whether or not they can confirm if she has stomach cancer. Amidst the somewhat meandering and constrained treatment there are some nice moments, such as the one in which Cléo, a pop singer, goes to a bar and plays her song on the jukebox to see if it stirs anyone (an attempt to see if one's existence is validated by affecting the lives of others), or the silent film-within-a-film which has none other than Monsieur Godard chasing after a lover. The contrived last twenty minutes really keep me from totally accepting it (ladies: Mr. Wonderful is waiting around the corner for you just before you kick it), although the final scene is done quite well, telling us, and the heroine, the last thing we want to hear (but were expecting since the first scene with the Fortune Teller).