Clouds of Sils Maria (image 1)

Juliet Binoche leaves audiences with [an] exhilarating feeling here – of having witnessed something precious and rare – answering the challenge of Assayas’ script by revealing a character incredibly close to her soul.

Peter Debruge, Variety

Screened as part of NZIFF 2015

Clouds of Sils Maria 2014

Directed by Olivier Assayas

Actresses Juliet Binoche, Kristen Stewart and Chloë Grace Moretz bring ample personal history to this engrossing drama of theatre-world affinities and rivalries from the director of Summer Hours and Irma Vep.

124 minutes CinemaScope/DCP
M (offensive language)

Director, Screenplay

Producer

Charles Gillibert

Photography

Yorick Le Saux

Editor

Marion Monnier

Production designer

François Renaud Labarthe

Costume designer

Jurgen Doering

With

Juliette Binoche (Maria Enders)
,
Kristen Stewart (Valentine)
,
Chloë Grace Moretz (Jo-Ann Ellis)
,
Lars Eidinger (Klaus Diesterweg)
,
Johnny Flynn (Christopher Giles)
,
Angela Winkler (Rosa Melchior)
,
Hanns Zischler (Henryk Wald)
,
Nora von Waldstätten (actress in sci-fi movie)
,
Brady Corbet (Piers Roaldson)

Awards

Winner Best Supporting Actress (Kristen Stewart)
,
César Awards 2015

Festivals

Cannes (In Competition)
,
Locarno
,
Toronto
,
Vancouver
,
New York 2014

Elsewhere

In this wiser, gentler 21st-century spin on themes of thespian rivalry, Juliette Binoche brings her own stellar status to the role of lauded actress Maria Enders. Maria’s transition to ‘mature’ roles presses hard on her when she’s invited to appear in a new production of the play that made her famous at 18. The legend of her brilliant debut as a young woman who seduces and abandons a powerful older woman has clung to her, but this time she’s being cast as the victim. Jo-Ann (Chloë Grace Moretz), a hellraising Hollywood starlet, fresh out of rehab, will take the star-making role.

The echoes of earlier films about thespian rivalry resound, but the central dynamic in Olivier Assayas’ thoroughly engrossing film lies in Maria’s bond with her savvy personal assistant Val. Kristen Stewart brings a warm naturalism to the role, playing a super-aware young woman whose independence won’t be compromised, as much as she admires the woman who depends on her.

The film takes place largely in the Swiss Alps where the eponymous snaking clouds provide breathtaking respite from the dramatic hall of mirrors in which the restless actress searches for significance.

“Inquisitive and enchanting… A story which revolves around three women, one that explores uneven relationships and rivalries in a manner seldom seen onscreen… Clouds of Sils Maria dips and soars in its grand ambitions but, at its best, blends the rampant egos and raging insecurities of All About Eve with a fresh and playful modernity.” — Emma Simmonds, The List