Essay about Cleo 5 to 7 as a New Wave Film

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Cleo 5 to 7 as a New Wave Film

Agnes Varda is not only one of the few female directors of new wave cinema; she is also credited as having helped create the genre. Her short film La Point–Courte is considered by some as the first new wave film. Her first full length movie, Cleo 5 to 7 falls within this genre as well. It is the story of a young woman dying of cancer and how she sees the world in the context of time. We follow the singer Cleo as she changes into the woman Flora and as she does so she begins to look at time in a different manner. It is the way time is represented through the camera shots which really make this film part of its new wave genre.

The movie begins with a five minute prologue that occurs during the credits in
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The fact that this is used in a film that is other wise more or less uncut, in terms of it following Cleo for the last 90 minutes of waiting for her test results, keeps the film from having a documentary feel.

Another interesting use of camera cutting can be found in the in between scene where Cleo is roaming the streets of Paris. She is now becoming the one watching other people rather than being the one watched as she was in the beginning (probably because of her beauty and famous singer status). While she is watching the camera cuts between other people’s conversations and then while she is walking the camera is in essence her point of view. However during this walk, the people passing are watching her as well, thus proving that this is the transition time. The use of cutting between shots of her and shots of all these people passing her not only show this change in who is watching who, but also allows for a sense of time passing. Interspersed with these shots are images of people we have already met, the widow, the boyfriend, the piano player, as well as the images of a monkey resting on a clock and her wig resting on the mirror, these things conveying how the people who know her see her and how she sees herself. This is a genius montage because these two things represent the same thing, how people see her, how she sees people, and how she sees herself, and by interspersing them we see

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