french new wave picture that follows a singer (cleo) the two hours before she hears back from her doctor about her cancer biopsy. the film is 90 minutes long so it’s not quite real time, but is close enough. one of the fringe benefits of the picture is getting a good look at paris. like before sunset, cleo from 5 to 7 tracks the character movements throughout a city over a short period of time. we get to see cleo as she travels throughout the city with three major characters – her maid/housekeeper, her female friend, and a male stranger. i didn’t see a meaningful evolution of her character until she met the soldier late in the film and his unique character brought out a side of her that she probably didn’t even know she had. it’s an interesting film because it takes place basically in realtime and because it’s about a character who is convinced she is going to receive the news of her death by the end of the picture. at the beginning of the film she’s very superstitious, immature and capricious. by the end of the film she’s more settled and grounded.
stylistically the film was very french new wave. lots of jump cuts, moving cameras, close-ups, etc. the opening sequence of a tarot card reading was in color when the shots were of the cards and in black and white other than that. varda’s style is ambitious and it works to liven up the picture and give a better view of the city. though this is a good film i preferred her documentary “gleaners and i.”