Cléo 5 to 7


Agnés Varda’s 1962 film Cléo 5 to 7 focuses on a beautiful, young singer during the two hours she’s waiting to hear whether she has cancer or not. She’s had her tests and the doctor said to call him at 7. How do you occupy yourself right before you’re going to get such a diagnosis?

Cléo first goes to a fortune teller. She gets her cards read, but the fortune teller gets upset when asked to read Cléo’s palm. Things do not look good. From there Cléo and her maid go shopping and we see how much more grounded and practical her maid is. Sure anyone would be on edge and jumpy at this time, but we figure, given her purchase of a winter fur hat, bought purely to annoy her maid, that Cléo is capricious.

The film made me sympathetic to Cléo. She’s a rising star, but she’s surrounded by men who have little time or respect for her. It’s not till she’s in a park right before 7 when she meets a fellow that she might be able to trust. Her maid and friend are reliable and trustworthy, but really, when you’re about to learn if you have terminal cancer, you are pretty alone.

There’s a lot of attention given to the strangers Cléo passes who’re living as if they have forever (though one stranger certainly does not). These little snippets of action and conversation spice and show what life really is like and how we aren’t the center of anyone’s drama.

The lead Corrine Marchard does a fine job as Cléo bringing her to life in a way that we see her as more than a dizzy singer with a bit of bad luck. Yes, she’s got privilege and doesn’t understand fully how much, but we still want to learn more and understand Cléo better.

The camera work in the film is inspired and masterful, creating a look that remains fresh today.

One Tree Hill

This teenage soap is something of a guilty pleasure for me. I’m hooked, yet I know this is far from top drawer drama. It’s not as good as The Gilmore Girls or Everwood but this look at a clique of high school kids in North Carolina is satisfying enough. The premise is original. Half brothers, one beloved, the other abandoned begin as rivals. Nathan grew up with his father and mother with all the affluence of the upper middle class, while Lucas and his mother Karen, have struggled to make ends meet since Karen was blown off by Dan her high school boyfriend.

Seventeen years later wounds and rivalry are still acute. Dan is a smug, over-privileged jerk who makes a good villain. Girl next door Haley, edgy artistic Peyton and party girl Brooke provide romantic interest for the boys. There’s all the high drama of a soap: car accidents, elopements, betrayals, murders, teen pregnancy, single parenthood, you name it.

I’m just in the middle of season 4. I’d have missed the show entirely if it weren’t for Sally’s urging and DVDs.

Certain aspects of the show are so far fetched. In an era of hover parents, only Dan is obsessed with his favorite son. Peyton’s father is usually at sea and her mother’s dead. Brooke’s rich parents are either traveling, off-camera arguing or in California where they relocate. Jake, a teen single father, has parents who take no part in his custody battle and very little in helping with his daughter. Rachel joins the cast in season 3 and it’s a mystery why her parents bought a house in Tree Hill as they too are vagabonds never coming home. Who tends the lawn? Who gets a repairperson? These kids never have to deal with any homeowner problems.

Oh, I really can’t believe that while Peyton drove all night to check on her father’s safety when she learned his ship was in a storm, he doesn’t show up for weeks when a creepy imposter stalks and attacks her.  When he is on camera, Mr. Sawyer is a normal concerned father. Implausible.

I do love the literary quotations that often begin or end an episode. I’ve posted a page of them at Ruined for Life.