Ava Changnon Intro to Film Studies Blog

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French New Wave

November 8th, 2018

In Cleo from 5 to 7, directed by Agnes Varda, gives a unique take on the perception and purpose of women, specifically the internalization of these messages by women. Cleo is a self obsessed, narcissistic women who is charmed by her own beauty. Although she is ill, she claims that her beauty is her health. Due to society’s constant pressure on women to look good and serve the purpose of men, Cleo has completely taken this perception into herself and embodies the idea of a perfect women. However she longs for more. She wishes that men would pay more attention the her and care about her rather that just looking. When she plays her song at the bar and no one pays attention to it, she is crushed because she really only has her beauty. The filmmakers choice to show person after person looking at her on the streets of Paris is fascinating because it gives us a point of view of Cleo and the amount of eyes that look at her, admiring her beauty. A turning point in the film occurs when she is singing a new song and completely loses herself. She begins to cry and the viewer gets a glimpse of her vulnerability: feeling empty and without a meaningful purpose. As she perceives her life as being in danger of cancer, she reflects on her life and is not satisfied. Inside she is empty. This speaks to the existentialism of the film as it explores the things that matter in life and the meaning of the world. As this movie appears simple, it speaks to the concept of finding a purpose to make life meaningful and what happens when illness threatens to take away that same life.

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