Opens with tarot card reading. Appears like Cleo’s (Corinne Marchand) number is up. Shes doomed. She’ll know and we’ll know in 2 hours when the biopsy comes back.
“As long as I’m beautiful I’m more alive than others” she thinks into mirror. Narcissistic. Mirrors reflect her superficial image everywhere she goes.
“What a drama queen, shes got everything she needs to be happy” thinks bossy personal assistant. Yes, wealth, celebrity, beauty – all the selfish stuff.
This bossy personal assistant wont let her wear her new black hat “Nothing new on a Tuesday, are you trying to attract bad luck?” Luckily, she didn’t buy this silly white hat
Now, shes swinging off bars, doing physical exercises in her camisole, like a child. And throwing hissy fits. “Everyone spoils me, no one loves me” she says.
Film is turning – bizarrely – into a Michel Legrand musical cabaret.
By now we know Cleo to be narcissistic, self-absorbed – and add on deluded; cus although you might have terminal cancer you gotta have a fag
She’s out into the streaming streets with the frog swallowers and the hustle bustlers, whizzing around in cars, hopping into taxi with her friend to be sped about
(How do you drive on Parisian streets?! I mean, really – it iz crazeee, merde!)
Half way through and, surprsingly, I’m not “digging” this film as much as I thought I would. Its all a bit giddy and fragmentary. Nothing to hold onto.
Theres a little interlude with Jean Luc Godard in silent movie slapstick (must be some kind of in joke going on there)
The 2nd half slows down (deliberately) Cleo is getting away from all that rush around razzmatazz glitzy surface stuff. She’s out into the parks to sit down, to quieten down, to reflect.
“My precious, so capricious body” she says parodically posing it down these steps.
A nice soldier chats her up, accompanies her back to the hospital to get the biopsy result. And cus hes been so nice and sympathetic she seems to fall for him (all a bit too easily I think)
Its cancer. Its 2 months of radiotherapy. But her quick 2 hour journey around Paris has been a journey of self-discovery (has it? I’m not entirely convinced) and a less selfish centre (and maybe even a bit of love thrown in (for soldier)
“I’ve the feeling my fear has gone”. I think I know why she might say that; cus the fear of bad news is often worse than the bad news itself; now she knows, she can accept. But the inference here is that she knows now – not just about the cancer – but more importantly, knows about herself. In these 2 short hours she’s come to some kind of self-correcting self-knowledge.
Surprisingly – and slightly disappointingly – I’ve not been bowled over by this film. I thought it was nailed on to be up there with the very best of anything I’ve ever seen (by Varda, or anybody elese) But it might get better on watch 2 or 3. Cus I reckon I’ll have to be watching it again.
Dir: Agnes Varda, France