GFF15 Review: Clouds Of Sils Maria (2014)

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Oliver Assayas’ latest Clouds Of Sils Maria is a striking, sharp and particularly well layered meta drama with a pair of high standing performances at its fore. Ageing actress Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche) is asked to star in a revival of the play that launched her career twenty years prior, this time in the older role. Her acceptance forces her to question her past, present and overall place within the industry. Considerably richer than it initially implies, Clouds Of Sils Maria reveals its many forms – character study, industry mediation and shifting perspectives – steadily, predominately through the exchanges shared between Maria and her always-present assistant Valentine (Kristen Stewart, skilfully cast). Assayas’ script is as prickly as it is self aware (a heated discussion about the merits of blockbuster is a particular highlight) and ponderous, eloquently and passionately performed by its leads, both of whom are excellent. Clouds Of Sils Maria creeps under the skin, transfixing at every turn, enveloped in a relaxed poise and the sumptuous backdrop of the Swiss Alps.

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