This month brings the Criterion/Eclipse release of the five film box set “Agnès Varda in California,” making August the perfect time to revisit her seminal 1962 film Cléo from 5 to 7. The close to real-time film covers 90 minutes (the title is a slight fib) in the life of a beautiful French pop singer (Corinne Marchand).
To wax in a state of eulogy about Alain Resnais is to have reviewed his last few features at the times they premiered. With Wild Grass (2009), You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet (2012) and the incredibly recent Life of Riley (2014), reviewers understandably noted his age, Resnais being in his late eighties and early nineties, while still producing films containing a youthful charm, his resolution on the festival circuit as firm as ever. Perhaps then, it still came as a surprise that at the age of 91, Alain Resnais had passed, leaving a remarkable six decades of major work behind, rivaled at this point only by 105-year-old arthouse compatriot Manoel de Oliveira. Surprising, yes, thanks to his experimental shock to the film world in Last Year at Marienbad (1961) and Hiroshima, mon amour (1959) being equalled by his recent output, a promising second wind. His death has sparked many remembrances of first meeting Resnais’s challenging work, mostly experiencing boredom, frustration, or sometimes a dull fascination, yet all ending with acceptance, appreciation, and veneration.