Sunday, May 10, 2015

Clouds of Sils Maria

Movie Name: Clouds of Sils Maria
Year of Release: 2014
Director: Olivier Assayas
Stars: Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart, Chloe Grace Moretz, Lars Eidinger, Johnny Flynn, Angela Winkler, Hanns Zischler, Brady Corbet, Claire Tran
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6

Following the critical success of the mini series "Carlos", director Olivier Assayas has returned with another feature that tackles the film making and acting milieu, in the vein of what he tackled on "Irma Vep". The film follows the story of actress Maria Enders, a celebrated and international actress, who alongside her assistant Valentine, are both on their way to celebrate the career of a playwright and director who was responsible for the beginning of Maria's career 20 years previously. This director suddenly dies, making the ceremony more of a homage, whilst surprisingly Maria gets asked to participate in the play that originally made her famous, but now in a part that is more secondary. The part that made her famous, is now falling on the shoulders of a young and troubled Hollywood starlet. Reliving the play and the parts, bleeds into Maria's own life and how she sees herself and her relationships.
Olivier Assayas' film successfully depicts the level of complicity that exists between the two main female characters of the film, Maria and Val. As their rehearsing starts and the relationship between life and art bleed together, the fears and anxieties that dominate Maria's life and choices become more and more apparent. The film allows for these characters to exist in a bubble, one that showcases their complicity and also their different views on art and life, but the characters never exist beyond some of these broad strokes (Val is the intelligent, youthful and resourceful assistant, Maria the somewhat insecure older actress). The performances from Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart are fantastic and naturalistic, but sadly the film doesn't live up to the quality they deliver. An interesting and flawed film from a great film maker.