Agnès Varda: Life is Art ACMI Presents

Cleo from 5 to 7

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“One of the Nouvelle Vague's boldest achievements.”

Selected for Official Competition at the 1962 Cannes Film Festival, Cléo from 5 to 7 became immediately emblematic of the French New Wave and the burgeoning feminist movement.

Varda's portrayal of Cléo deeply challenged notions of the gendered gaze, as her heroine shifts from being an object of others' attentions to an active participant, empowered with self-reflection.

Agnès Varda described her second feature as "a portrait of a woman painted onto a documentary about Paris.” Her film follows Cléo as she takes to the streets; an ordinary woman observing the city and its inhabitants. On her journey she visits a lively artists' model and a noisy projection room, where she’s amused by a silent film starring Nouvelle Vague uber-couple Jean-Luc Godard and Anna Karina. Later whilst strolling through a park Cléo meets Antoine, a common soldier with a quick wit and generous smile. Their time together puts Cléo at ease and back in touch with life.

An enduring film within Varda's wider filmography, Cléo from 5 to 7 remains an exemplar of her distinctive artistic style and radical break with social, gender and cinematic traditions.