Cleo from 5 to 7

I’m far from being a film student. The bits and pieces of film knowledge I have are things I’ve picked up here and there – from a documentary, from an article, or just by watching a bunch of films. Even so, even with relatively little actual knowledge of the history and the technical details, I know what I like. And I like the Nouvelle Vague. Everything I’ve seen from the French movement has been fascinating, thought-provoking or just straight-up beautiful. And Cleo, from 5 to 7 is no exception at all. This film is beautiful.

Once again, it’s a big thank you to both the Film Festival and the Hyde Park Picture House. This is a film that was made for a cinema, especially a cinema as majestic as our beloved HPPH. It just screams cinematic at you.

As the camera ducks and weaves between doorways, glass and mirrors, we study two hours in the life of Cleo, a young Parisian singer, flitting idly from one distraction to the next as she awaits her test results from the hospital. There’s not really much of a story here but… this isn’t a film that cares about a story. It’s all about fur hats, strawberries in water, street-entertainers swallowing frogs, posing nude for sculptors and promenading in the park. To call this a film of style over substance would be both on the mark and to miss the point. The style is the substance, and it’s glorious.

Another film too early in the day to justify a beer, so just a cup of tea with this one. Although, as Cleo sipped a cognac in a Parisian cafe I’d have happily swapped my tea for a brandy too.