Cleo From 5 to 7 (Cleo de cinq a sept), per its title, concentrates on two hours in the life of a woman. Those hours are desperate ones, in that Cleo, a pop singer, awaits the results of her tests for cancer. Director Agnes Varda stages the film in "real" rather than subjective time, its various episodes divided into chapters, using significant Tarot cards. During the allotted time, Cleo visits her friends, tries to sing her worries away, spends money, and cries.
Jacques Demy's 1964 masterpiece is a pop-art opera, or, to borrow the director's own description, a film in song. This simple romantic tragedy begins in 1957. Guy Foucher (Nino Castelnuovo), a 20-year-old French auto mechanic, has fallen in love with 17-year-old Geneviève Emery (a luminous Catherine Deneuve), an employee in her widowed mother's chic but financially embattled umbrella shop. On the evening before Guy is to leave for a two-year tour of combat in Algeria, he and Geneviève make love. She becomes pregnant and must choose between waiting for Guy's return or accepting an offer of marriage from a wealthy diamond merchant (Marc Michel, reprising his role from Demy's masterful debut, Lola). A completely sung movie, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is closest in form to a cinematic opera. Composer Michel Legrand composed the score, modeling it around the patterns of everyday conversation.
Agnes Varda directed this drama which combines formal dramatic structures with the openness of improvisational cinema verite. Independent filmmaker Shirley Clarke plays an avant-garde film director attempting to work with a major studio to finance her next project, in which she hopes to collaborate with James Rado and Jerome Ragni, creators of the musical "Hair" (who play themselves). She also wants to use Andy Warhol superstar Viva (who also appears as herself) as her leading lady.