Agnes Varda's Cleo 5 to 7 tells the story of Cleo, a french singer who is on edge while she waits to hear back from her doctor about recent test results. The film begins at a fortune teller's establishment where we find Cleo desperate to be told everything is alright. The fortune teller does not give her such news, telling Cleo that she sees a complete transformation in the near future which could symbolize death. Unable to hear anymore, Cleo leaves in a panic, cruising the streets of Paris in an effort to take her mind off of her greatest fear - death. Cleo 5 to 7 is an expertly well-crafted character study of a vapid woman who begins to slowly realize she is nothing more than a pretty face, merely something to be displayed for her employers' financial benefit. This is a film about the transformation of Cleo, a vapid, narcissistic woman who is only interested in herself, viewing beauty as the most important thing in life. Agnes Varda's direction throughout this film is very impressive, making fascinating visual decisions that only aid in elevating the overall themes and emotion of the film. While Cleo's views and overall narcissism is abundantly clear from dialogue alone, Varda brilliantly takes it one step farther in the early scenes of the film, using an over-abundance of mirrors to visually symbolize both the narcissistic tendencies of her main protagonist while also signifying the notion that she is simply visual stimulant for society. Varda uses point-of-view style insert shots to perfection as well, capturing the head-space of Cleo, a woman who believes the world revolves around her. Taking place around the time of the crisis in Algeria, Varda juxtaposes this crisis with Cleo's mixed up priorities throughout the film, using radio broadcasts, overheard background banter, and of course the soldier. Cleo's fear of death pushes her to finally wake up from her vapid reality, understanding that there are far more important things in life than appearance. Towards of the end of the film, Cleo meets this aformentioned soldier, a man who is interested in her thoughts as well as aesthetics. This man is headed to Algeria, which effectively closes out the film on both a character and thematic level.
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