Synopses & Reviews
Cléo de 5 à 7, Agnes Vardas classic work of 1962 depicts, in near real time, ninety minutes in the life of Cléo, a young woman in Paris awaiting the results of medical tests that she fears will confirm a fatal condition. The film, whose visual beauty matches its evocation of early Fifth Republic Paris, was a major point of reference for the French New Wave despite the fact that Varda, the only major female French director of the period, never considered herself a member of the core Cahiers du Cinéma group of critics turned filmmakers.
Ungar provides a close reading of the film and situates it in its social, political and cinematic context, tracing Vardas early career as a student of art history and a photographer, the history of post-war French film, and the lengthy Algerian war to which Cléos health concerns and ambitions to become a pop singer make her more or less oblivious. His study is the first to set a reading of Cléos formal and technical complexity alongside an analysis of its status as a document of a specific historical moment.
Cleo de 5 a 7 is a classic of French New Wave cinema, depicting 90 minutes in the life of its heroine Cleo, as well as presenting aspects of daily life in early 1960s Paris. Ungar skilfully examines the film's historical importance as well as its technical complexity and visual beauty.
Cleo de 5a7 is a classic of French new wave cinema which follows ninety minutes in the life of a young woman awaiting the results of medical tests that she fears will confirm a fatal cancer. Steven Ungar’s study provides an illuminating close reading of the film and will be of interest to students of the French New Wave, feminist film and French culture as well as fans of New Wave cinema.
About the Author
Steven Ungar is Professor of French and Comparative Literature at the University of Iowa.