Clouds of Sils Maria (2014)

Clouds of Sils Maria (2014)

LANGEnglish,French,German,Swiss German
Juliette BinocheKristen StewartChloë Grace MoretzLars Eidinger
Olivier Assayas


Clouds of Sils Maria (2014) is a English,French,German,Swiss German movie. Olivier Assayas has directed this movie. Juliette Binoche,Kristen Stewart,Chloë Grace Moretz,Lars Eidinger are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2014. Clouds of Sils Maria (2014) is considered one of the best Drama movie in India and around the world.

The first real professional success for famed French actress Maria Enders was twenty years ago as the co-lead in writer Wilhelm Melchoir's play and subsequent movie "Maloja Snake", he who picked Maria, then an unknown, personally. She played Sigrid, an opportunistic eighteen year old in an emotionally dependent lesbian relationship with forty year old Helena, who was at a vulnerable stage of her life. Maria has turned down the play's upcoming London revival in which she would now play Helena, it remounted by director Klaus Diesterweg. Her reasons for turning down the role are many including: being at a vulnerable stage of her own life going through a painful divorce; remembering the suicide of Susan Rosenberg, the original Helena, following the original run of the play, the suicide purportedly mirroring what happens to Helena; and the painful memories of the production in still having hard feelings toward who was her older male costar, Henryk Wald, with who she had an affair at the ...


Clouds of Sils Maria (2014) Reviews

  • Portrait of a woman confronting the demons of age and obsolescence.


    This was an amazing movie, to a large extent because of its lead actors. I expected Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart to make a great team, and they did; there was never a moment when I thought one of them was out-acting the other, or drawing attention from the other. They worked in perfect tandem as far as I could see. The first thing that needs to be mentioned is the technique of telling the story in "layers." Many, if not all, scenes are on multiple levels, filled with subtext, and it all mixes effortlessly with the central story. Binoche plays famous and respected actress Maria Enders, while Kristen plays her devoted personal assistant, Valentine. Enders is preparing to play an important role: the character of Helena, an older woman in a remake of the play in which she once starred brilliantly as the more powerful younger character, Sigrid. Valentine is helping her rehearse, and they both travel to the picturesque mountain town of Sils Maria to work on the play. That's the main "layer" and it makes a perfectly good story on its own. But in this movie, any piece of dialogue can, at the same time, refer to the characters in Enders' play; to Enders and Valentine themselves; to Binoche and Stewart; or to other actors, movies, directors, or events which are not directly mentioned in the film. Yes, even the real life actors are referenced; Olivier Assayas confirmed in an interview that in this movie, the identity of the actual actors is part of the story. It sounds as if it should be weird and confusing, but it's not; it's done very smoothly, with the main story easy to follow even while taking in the other layers of reference as if they were background music. The basic story, which is beautifully told, is about a woman struggling to deal with ageing in a profession that doesn't always respect older women, that may consider them irrelevant. Maria Enders is also trying to be true to her art while making the necessary concessions to fame, the media, the fans, fellow actors, and critics, concessions she resents to some extent. It would be a fine story all by itself. But the added layers provide a sort of ongoing commentary on the story, that makes it much more interesting, and a little strange. Seeing obvious parallels with the lead actors' real lives is odd, but like the parallels between Maria Enders and the character she is preparing to play, it only adds depth to the story and gives us more insight into what is happening. Maria's struggle is made worse when she meets the young, brash, gossip-ridden Hollywood actress, Joanne Ellis (Chloe Grace Moretz), who is to take on the role of Sigrid. Joanne is smart, fearless, and media-savvy. At their first meeting she flatters Maria and claims to be an admirer, but may simply be feigning respect. Maria is easy to sympathize with when she looks into Joanne's background and sees that the rising star displacing her is a crude, grandstanding girl who manipulates the system to her advantage, and who acts in ridiculous sci-fi drivel. Gradually, the difficult relationship between the characters in Enders' play becomes blurred and overlapped with Enders' relationship with Valentine, each relationship providing commentary on the other. It is interesting to watch Binoche simultaneously rehearsing a scene in which her character, Helena, has a confrontation with Sigrid, and in subtext confronting Valentine. It gradually becomes unclear whether she is Helena addressing Sigrid, or Maria addressing Valentine, because it becomes both at once. Maria's conflicts over becoming obsolete in the field where she's excelled, and by extension possibly in her life, causes ongoing friction with Valentine, who tries to help her and encourage her to change her perspective. Finally, in a brief surreal moment, Maria, it is implied, manages to take on Valentine's perspective and her confidence. As Valentine tries to express at one point, Helena and Sigrid are really the same character; by extension, so are Maria and the young, pragmatic, fearless Valentine. Ultimately these opposites are reconciled, the conflicting layers are brought together, and Maria is able to accept her new reality and move on. It's not necessarily a happy ending, in terms of Maria's diminishing professional range, but it is a satisfying one. This is an enjoyable, well written and well acted, serious and yet consistently entertaining movie from beginning to end.

  • The female version of Birdman


    "In the play you all know, Maloya Snake, he gave me everything I need to build a career on, my career." Olivier Assayas and Juliette Binoche reunite after their previous collaboration (Summer Hours) in this wonderful meta film that has some slight similarities to Birdman. This could be the female version of that movie although not as entertaining and without all the technical achievements. It is also a little more subtle in its approach. The story begins on a train as re-known actress, Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche) is heading to Zurich with her personal assistant, Valentine (Kristen Stewart) to receive an award on behalf of a dear friend, Wilhelm Melchior, who is the reason why she is now a famous actress. Twenty years ago, he offered her the role to play the lead character in the stage and later on in the film adaptation of that play. On their way to Zurich they receive the terrible news of his passing which deeply saddens her. After the ceremony Valentine arranged a meeting with Klaus (Lars Eidinger) who wants Maria to play the older character in his adaptation of Wilhelm's novel. She continues to identify with the strong younger character and doesn't feel its correct for her to play the weaker role of Helen, but ultimately she agrees to do it. The lead character will be played by the promising young actress Jo-Ann Ellis (Chloe Grace Moretz) who has had her share of scandals with paparazzi's recently. In order to prepare for the role, Maria and Valentine travel to Wilhelm's former home in Sils Maria surrounded by the gorgeous Alps. Here, Maria is forced to reflect on her career and come to terms with the fact that she's an aging actress. Clouds of Sils Maria is another film that reminds us that life imitates art because we are always finding ways to express ourselves and the means to do so is through art. Maria is forced to come to terms with her reality through the acceptance of this character she's not thrilled about playing because she doesn't seem to understand her. There are several scenes in which she is rehearsing the lines with Valentine that kind of blur the line between fantasy and reality. There were moments in which i didn't know if they were actually arguing or if they were simply reading the lines of the play. Those scenes were memorable and unique and I believe are at the center of this film. There are also some great conversations between the two about art and blockbuster Hollywood movies portraying the opposing two point of views. The film is rich with strong female characters exploring art and life in a rather authentic way. Clouds of Sils Maria may not be for everyone because it is slow paced and some scenes can become tedious if you aren't a patient viewer, but I found it a rewarding experience and a solid exploration of the passage of time and coming to terms with it. The classical music score (Pachelbel's Canon in D Major) also gives the film a touch of class. The scenery is also beautiful and it makes each conversation all the more profound. Juliette Binoche has always been a wonderful actress so it comes as no surprise that she deliver yet another solid and touching performance. The real question everyone had was whether or not Kristen Stewart could hold her own next to this talented actress. The two share a lot of screen time together and at no point did I feel that Binoche was eating up the screen. Stewart gives in my opinion the best performance of her career (and I did really like her in Camp X-Ray and Still Alice) and she truly shines here. She won the Cesar (France's version of the Oscars) for best supporting screenplay and she proves that with the right material she can deliver solid roles. Chloe Grace Moretz also delivers a strong performance despite not having much screen time. She's hilarious in the scenes where Maria looks up her name on the internet and we get clips of the scandals she's been involved in. All in all, this is a solid film exploring some interesting subjects with solid performances and a beautiful landscape.

  • No "action"?


    Look, people, European movies are just different from American films. Particularly, French movies are different; they deal with the mysteries of human existence -- growing old, looking at the future of one's profession, grieving over loss of an old friend and mentor AND a divorce at the same time. Europeans still talk; conversation is important; debate is a delight. But to do that, one has to have ideas, a vocabulary, a sense of history, some new concepts to test -- and a feeling that human beings can still be heroic and worth spending time with. All too little of this exists in the US these days. Worse, American films have been in profit-only franchise mode for years, thus poisoning the next generation by raising their adrenaline level. Paris is currently the epicenter for world cinema and with reason. By driving for money only, Hollywood has driven the public from the theaters. NOTE: SPOILERS TO COME 1. Maria's not in crises; she has a full plate. Overwhelmed, too much to do at once. Then her mentor dies, as she's traveling to pick up an award for him. Meanwhile her ex-husband is hassling her about money. 2. She trusts her assistant, Val, who seems committed to her and respects her. Being young, Val thinks it would be helpful to "bring the old girl up-to-date" with her insightful comments on movies and acting. We don't have any evidence that Val knows anything more about either than gossip and LA obsessions. But that never stopped a youngster from arguing about stuff. Maria playfully teases her back. 3. Maria would like to remain the same character she played 20 years before, when she was 18. Wild horses couldn't drag me back to 18, or 20, or 25, but it's an understandable point of view for someone who's had to adjust to being in the public eye. She doesn't really like Helena, didn't like the actress who played her, and doesn't want to end the play being left, seen as undesirable, exploited and abandoned. 4. While Maria says, "I'm not concerned about the lesbian angle in the play; I've always been straight." Well, who asked her? Clearly some sexual tension is going on here with all three women, though there's nothing from Jo-Ann to Val (Jo-Ann is as cold a little bitch as required). But Val seems to be increasingly attracted to Maria and Maria seems to be healing/opening back up within the boundaries of friendship. She also peeks at Val when she's asleep. 5. As the erotic intensity increases, Val throws up by the side of the road. Seems like the well-known old "homosexual panic" to me, wherein one realizes that one could be in love with someone of the same sex. Whoa! Where's this coming from? Me? Eventually she only has two choices, as she's already suffering. She can ask Maria for more in the relationship (and does, only to have Maria dismiss the "line" from the play and Val at the same time), or she can leave. No one wants to be imprisoned in a hopeless, heartbreaking situation where one is never going to be valued or prioritized. 6. As a French woman, Maria isn't going to get all anxious about the possibility of an affair with Val; after all, she's cut her hair and is wearing more masculine clothes to "live in the part." She also has played a young gay seducer before in the earlier play and film. Surely she would consider what an affair with a woman would be like. Val hasn't, I wager. Binoche as always is a revelation; Stewart is a little too flighty, constantly in motion, but I was impressed anyway. (Still, I wondered what Lea Seydoux would have done with Val.) Moretz didn't too much for me. I really loved this film and hope others will see it with an open heart and mind..

  • Strong, provocative, intelligent work of art (not for everyone)


    If you are a big fan of Magritte and Escher, of the writer Sebald, of Pirandello and Philip Glass and maybe the film "Koyaanisqatsi", I predict that you will love this film. If, on the other hand, you can't see the point of any of these and believe only in Aristotle's six elements of drama, there are many other excellent films you will like much better. It's a matter of taste. In this film, writer/director Assayas deliberately blurs the distinctions between a number of levels. You start with people in the business of theatre and film: Marie Enders (Binoche), an experienced and celebrated actress, and Valentine (Stewart), her young, busy, competent personal assistant, and the people in Marie's past, living and dead. Then there is the level of the characters in the play "The Maloja Snake" of twenty years ago, when Marie played the young and cruel Sigrid who loved and crushed her middle-aged employer, Helena. There is the level of the characters of the same play today, in which director Klaus Diesterweg (Lars Eidinger) hopes to recruit Marie to play Helena, possibly with a different take on the characters' motives and psychology, and in which Jo-Ann Ellis (Moritz) is eventually cast as Sigrid. And there is also the level of the real human world, including events in the life of the real Kristen Stewart, which have striking parallels in the life of the fictional Ellis; the same seems to be true of Binoche and Enders, and I have read that "The Maloja Snake" is a parallel world version of Fassbinder's "The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant". Spanning all these levels are the the real Switzerland and its real mountains and clouds, including the real Maloja Snake, a cloud phenomenon which was the subject of a black-and-white short film in the 1920's which is excerpted in Assayas' film and which can be seen on YouTube. The Internet spans all these levels too, and all the characters in the film are busy with texting and Skyping and Googling and checking out and fixing their IMDb info. And then the work of playing characters, of determining and managing emotions, of arguing about what really motivates real or fictional or play-within-a-play fictional characters, either within the industry of the creative arts or not, also bridges the levels. We are constantly aware of the analogies and reflections among Valentine - Maria, Sigrid - Helena, Jo-Ann - Maria, and so on. Readings of lines take place, in which you sometimes wonder what level you are on, and we see a lot of the details of the creative discussions which must go into the production of plays or for that matter, not incidentally, movies such as "Clouds of Sils Maria". If you get lazy and suspend your disbelief and allow yourself to mentally presume that "Clouds" is a comprehensible narrative of the real world, Assayas will bring you up short without any ceremony. So, does that kind of thing strike you as artistically intriguing or intellectually exciting? If it does, see the movie. It will give you a lot to think about and appreciate and puzzle about and discuss afterward. (The Swiss tourist board will thank you also.) If it seems a bit dry and abstract, well, you are fairly warned.

  • Juliette Binoche: A career in acting...


    I was very glad that i attended the opening ceremony of the Beirut International Film Festival with the presence of Juliette Binoche screening this touching movie! We're talking here about a festival movie so if you're not ready for a lot of talking scenes, well this is not for you! The story itself is brought by Binoche to director Olivier Assayas about an actress at the peak of her career who is asked again to play a role in a play that made her famous years ago! Let's be clear: this movie is all about stunning performances by a great Trio of actresses Binoche, Stewart and Moretz! Everyone was so great performing the characters. Binoche made it clear that this movie talk about her career and how can it be disturbed or touched emotionally on every level when she'll reach a certain age and when new generations of actors will rise! A must see for cinema lovers and especially for professional actors!


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