Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

The Journey of Discovery

Agnès Varda’s Cléo from 5 to 7 explores a woman walking, titularly, sadly around Paris in the gaze of French cinema. It is a uniquely fun exploration; it is also a story about death and disease. Additionally, it became a portrait of the French capital around the 1960s in addition to being a cinematic culture. However, what allows the director’s second feature to stand out is a perambulatory eye filling the screen in detail. Many compelling essays about the film about gears, antiques, cars, and other things appear on the screen with so much detail. A similar emphasis is also present in the film, where the protagonist almost solely builds such details, even small details with environmental and character concerns.

The film tells the story of a young female singer who changes her perception of herself on a fateful afternoon. As she anxiously awaits the biopsy results, she embarks on a journey of self-discovery. Besides being tired of reducing her persona and beauty, she also made a significant transition. The film fills the mirror symbolically but figuratively, revolving around Cléo’s reflection and how other people and the shadows of fate perceive to revolve around her. The mirror motif divides the narrative into many branches. Psychoanalytic formulations discuss human identity itself from pure imaginary. The construction in which the subject is Varda begins with reading tarot cards. She immediately tried to reassure herself by looking in the mirror.

Examining Space and Time

Cléo from 5 to 7 examines both space and time precisely through the gaze of French cinema. Straightforwardly, draw a map of the audience right from the protagonist’s path. It considers the narrative to recreate the director’s journey to the last second. However, Varda’s only trick is to give the title as Cléo from 5 to 7, not from 5:00 to 6:30. If the film is just a tremendous formal rehearsal, a cleverly choreographed walk runs through the city of Paris. It will not last as an extraordinary testament in influencing the film. At least since her short work entitled Diary of a Pregnant Woman, she has devoted most of her art to conveying internalism in the heart, body, and mind.

She also conveys the audible yet visible physical world, subtly informing her presentation of the material world. It shapes the narrative into a very modern expressionism style. Because the short film is a mosaic of Parisian style, Varda’s perception of gender through cinema and art tends to see the same thing. Things were very different, but the theme that followed her later films like Vagabond and The Gleaners and I became the moderation of such expressionism. Cléo has her self-image, quickly finding comfort. It is proof that she is more alive than the others around her.

A Portrait of a Lady in Paris

Cléo walks down the streets of Paris, objectified through women and men, through houses, and finds herself circling the music in addition to not being able to write her songs. It is easy to credit Varda as a pioneer of feminist cinema. The label she rejects has also become a complex post-feminist portrait of a woman. The protagonist, regardless of which, does not act as an ideal archetype. As a character of centralism, she is a surprising choice. She loves despite suffering, and it is hard not to identify with her painful wait for the medical word that will define her future. However, she was also always stingy and angry.

The director deliberately gave the protagonist a superficial calling, playing a pop singer with many privileges. On an ordinary day, she becomes a series of odd tasks. As in Vagabond, Varda avoids easy sentimentality. It purposely blocks the way to sympathize with her heroine immediately. Corinne Marchand is like Jean Seberg from Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless, where she played a role in resurrecting the early muse of Gamine. However, she seems more modern to a 21st-century audience. Her sightings are truly prophetic with her celebrity narcissism. Her taste in reading tarot can be a type of modern actress. Connected to a new world, Varda demonstrates a keen sensitivity to the fast-paced changes in contemporary lifestyles. Therefore, it constantly reaffirms itself in a social practice of counterculture.


Cléo’s death hinged on her journey. The film explores Paris with an unusually dark emphasis. In the end, she discovered that fear itself essentially perpetuated herself. However, it traverses the most common scenarios. Every day, she rebutted the news about her latest diagnosis. She seeks as much headroom as physical space. The film’s point is to retell the same strange effect as the making of the film. The protagonist’s daily life is that she always leaves the fortune teller. She also walks down the street to the cafe, where she meets her assistant. The assistant comforts her when she spills her coffee.

Inadvertently, she overhears the couple arguing before the couple goes to the coffee shop. The protagonist insists, and she buys an expensive winter hat even though it is summer. When time is potentially extended, she and her assistant take a taxi to the flat until a man interrupts her. The protagonist’s darkness returned when he saw the unusual carved ornaments on the windows. Such a maelstrom of information can only provide a glimpse of the endless details in Varda’s masterpiece. However, film criticism has traditionally been unsuccessful. The structure is too wandering like a situationist in telling the bones of what is seen in the protagonist’s journey around Paris. Varda’s endless curiosity did not satisfy an understanding.

The Fragility

Structurally, Cléo from 5 to 7 uses the gaze of French cinema to transform what is mundane in almost all other film contexts. At least, the film acts unspectacularly and transforms into drama. With Varda performing such a method, it changes the protagonist’s characterization from a self-obsessed entertainer to an individual whose fate she can fix. Her journey can be straightforward on a geographic level, but on an emotional level, her journey goes deeper. She continuously collects death reminders in the spy storefront, finding unexpected enlightenment in such away.

The film traces the arc of fragile worldly wisdom by offering such romantic, emotional energy about crossing Cléo in one of her encounters with a soldier. On the tram towards the end of the story, it becomes Varda’s re-creation of the classic moment of love reborn. A reminder of the film that French critics of the 50s loved the film in the same theater. Therefore, it became such a new wave for young artists. The audience hears a song like a speech to the protagonist herself. It triggers different emotional and conscious reactions. Such a new role culminates when Cléo meets a friend, a nude model for a sculptor. She stared in amazement at her friend’s skillful pose as the audience had reached its peak.

Shadow of Identity

The protagonist’s shadow only reflects on herself through the broken glass at such a moment. When she looked in the mirror, it revealed a fragmented perception. Besides being distorted, she also no longer sees herself as a whole. She is more detached from her previous life. In an allegory, she is like a baby, seeing her reflection in the mirror before not considering herself as an individual. However, it exists only as a subject that unites as one with its environment. Therefore, identity development leads to the distortion of an individual’s accurate self-image.

In short, she insists that she does not tie up the real herself. The new relationship between object and subject reveals the tension between reality and imagination. When she meets a soldier, her gaze is pure, marked by the kindness and innocence of the world. For the first time, she is a whole being, seeing that the protagonist is not just a spoiled character. However, she became a woman who was knowledgeable about art. One honest look at her had achieved a transformation, and she became a new person again. Part of a new wave centered on directors associated with the magazine Cahiers du Cinéma hooking a directorial career. New, more general doubts began to emerge about the fantastic ability to swing instantly from light to dark.

The Cubist Approach

A multi-perspective approach characterizes the new wave of filmmakers in the cubist style. The feeling that the film is not the story of one person, but everyone’s story goes in and out of the frame. While respecting the strict space-time continuum, Varda never ceases to focus her attention in focusing on everyone’s perspective. Varda’s masterpiece takes audiences on a complex identity discovery and loss journey. The film became part of the general movement toward women’s empowerment. It spanned across Europe as well as Hollywood. However, the film is more than just celebrating a young woman. The director does not just show the audience the origins of oppression.

However, she also presents a defense against everyone, against objectification using mirrors. Time serves as a formality structure in the narrative, based on the productive differences between different types of time. The experience of time expands according to how the audience perceives the film. Boredom becomes a series of emotional states that create opposite times together. In heart time, it swells beyond the mundane and entropy of menace. The dialectic of the boundaries of the natural world against the infinity of imagination always returns. It takes audiences from reincarnation to a literal cosmic view of outer space and the world. In an image-based society, an individual’s identity determines what others on social media see.


Identity fragmentation becomes a market for jobs, not just a rhetorical role. To add insult to injury, it is ironic to relate the realities of Cléo’s journey as relevantly as the 1960s. Cléo from 5 to 7 embodies the central gaze of all the youth French cinema movements of the 60s. It helps evoke a timeless modern era while traversing continuous intensity. Like Godard and Truffaut, Varda avoids flashbacks between plunging and panting into precious modern times in the protagonist’s life. However, full-time, hyperreal, and fantasy dialectics create a complex dual focus. It leaps into eternity through cosmic vision.

The film realizes its destiny into love and serenity in the final moment. It might occur outside the second prison in the slice of life that clocks in motion. Being an emotional yet conceptual leap is often what Varda does in her work and will always do. It could be that gender role still prominently divide the world she shows to the audience. Showbiz for domestic women indoors but outdoors fills a multiscreen of installation pieces. However, the energy of imagination and power can soar and transcend the mundane into a fusion of love. The atmosphere of freedom paradoxically arises within the very severe limitations of the real-time format. No lyricist is more realistic than turning a clown into everyday realism in a crafty way.


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