We're still waiting on a Toronto release date for Agnès Varda's delightful cinematic memoir The Beaches Of Agnès, which premiered at the Toronto film festival last fall ... but this weekend, local audiences have a rare opportunity to catch Varda's 1962 breakthrough, Cléo From 5 To 7, on a big screen. The Bloor Cinema will be showing the film, in a new 35mm restoration, from Saturday through Tuesday.
A real-time drama about a singer (Corinne Marchand) wandering around Paris while waiting for the results of a biopsy, Cléo is one of those rare films that somehow feels untouched, and untouchable, nearly half a century after it was made.
The vérité realism of the camera that follows Marchand through the streets, the navel-gazing subtext of a young woman weighing the possibility that her life is about to end; except for the cars and the price of a cup of coffee, this could be a contemporary mumblecore production. Hell, even Cléo's wardrobe has come back into fashion.
Thinking about it now, I'm actually shocked that the film hasn't already spawned a series of ill-advised remakes - it provides an almost perfect template for low-budget melodrama, and the central role is so sympathetic that any actress would be a fool not to snap it up. I'm just saying, Kate Hudson might consider picking up the DVD; she could use a project that makes her seem likeable, you know?
Not that Cléo From 5 To 7 actually needs to be remade, of course. Varda said everything there was to say - about fate, about mortality, about the unexpected ways in which people can connect to one another when they need to the most, and even about Paris - the first time out. You really ought to see this movie, even if it means braving the cold.