A stacked cast—Juliette Binoche, Kristen Steward, and Chloe Grace Moretz--suggests that Clouds of Sils Maria should easily be a knock out. In a film reflecting life, Binoche plays an aging actress named Maria Enders who is asked to perform in a revival of a play that kick-started her career twenty years earlier. At 18 she played Sigrid, a sultry young intern who seduces her boss Helena and drives her to insanity. She returns to play the older woman but rehearsing the role only stirs up insecurities and anger, especially when the young actress playing Sigrid (Moretz) is a raucous internet sensation. Accompanied by her assistant Valentine (Stewart), Maria seeks recluse in Sils Maria, a remote mountain town in the Alps, where she rehearses her scenes.
Sunday, April 12, 4:00pm
Wednesday, April 15, 7:10pm
Director: Olivier Assayas
Producer: Charles Gillibert
Writer: Olivier Assayas
Cinematographer: Yorick Le Saux
Editor: Marion Monnier
Cast: Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart, Chloe Grace Moretz, Lars Eidinger, Johnny Flynn, Angela Winkler
Country: France/Germany/ Switzerland/USA/Belgum
Premiere: May 23, 2014 - Cannes Film Festival
Director Olivier Assayas presents some interesting themes: aging gracefully in a digital era, the ability of theater to speak to truth, and the permeability of fiction. Unfortunately, it is too heavy-handed and too didactic. Yes, art often reflects reality but that simple observation is not enough to create a thought-provoking film. Assayas could have gone farther and pushed the parallels in more complex ways. Despite its flaws, Clouds of Sils Maria remains a beautiful film but perhaps one not worth seeing in a festival setting where there are so many other options.