The protagonists of Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962) and Let the Sunshine In (2017) could almost be mother and daughter. Although separated by over fifty years, Agnès Varda’s Cléo (Corrine Marchand) and Claire Denis’s Isabelle (Juliette Binoche) both traverse the streets of Paris, searching for solace against the ceaseless passage of time. Cléo is an ingénue pop singer while Isabelle is a recently-divorced and middle-aged woman, but both experience time as a malignant force. Both films are about 90 minutes long, but while Varda tells Cléo’s story in near real time, time in Denis’s film is vague and slippery.
My essay on time in Cléo from 5 to 7 and Let the Sunshine In is available to read on Reel Honey: “So Little Time Left”: Time in Cléo from 5 to 7 and Let the Sunshine In.
Illustration by Jenni Holtz.