There are many things I love about this movie – but in this round of viewing it was the elasticity of time that really impressed me. Within the framework of Cléo’s two hours, Varda manages to demarcate several qualities and quantities of time: groups of minutes marked by personal encounters; the first day of summer and the longest day of the year; the juxtaposition of sculpture (still time) and the silent film (time moving forward); time zones (Algeria); short of time, no time, a missing watch, a train to catch. You can feel the pressure of time on Corinne – those tortuous two hours which feel indeed like the longest day of the year, and the uncertainty of whether her life will be prolonged or short. Varda captures her crisis of existence with a great deal of elegance, wit, humor, and tenderness.
Cléo de 5 à 7. Dir. Agnes Varda. Rome Paris Films, 1962. In French.