Cléo from 5 to 7

Cléo from 5 to 7 ★★★★★

Agńes Varda's CLEO FROM 5 TO 7 was a watershed moment for me as a young filmmaker. I saw it when I was 21 and immediately tried to replicate it in my first two short films. I tried to replicate it because it was the first movie I saw where the duration of the film ran parallel to the events that occurred in it. A character driven piece, the film follows Cleo as she waits for the results of cancer test which will be revealed to her at 7. Film school would generally have you believe that all stakes have to be external so that people can be easily communicated a plot through the audiovisual language, but Varda inherently knew that cinema is far more powerful than this assumption. She understood that cinema, more than anything else, is a meditation on the relationship between identity and time. With books, you can include leaps in time because reading books takes a lot of time, but cinema grants us the opportunity to zoom onto very small, very detailed moments in our lives to try to better understand certain behaviors and moments. I love my plot-driven spectacles as much as the next person, but I still find myself always returning to small stories, told in 100 minutes or less, about people going through an internal struggle about who they are and exactly why they matter in the greater context of the world. The films of Agńes Varda always sought out these questions with such an open heart for humanity which is exceedingly rare in any forms of audiovisual content today. Her films will always be embedded in my DNA as an artist and a human being.

There are some filmmakers that you love and there are some filmmakers that you want to be.

Thank you, Agńes Varda.

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