Clouds of Sils Maria - 5 Stars
The sublime film captures the essence of real life using characters that are both relatable and empathetic.
It’s been nearly a year since reviews of this film hit the net, so many of you will not be surprised when I say Kristen Stewart is fantastic in this film. She has well and truly outgrown her Twilight years. Her character isn’t perfect, but Stewart performs the role so well that any inconsistencies or character flaws are blown away. However, while she offers a wonderful performance it is leading lady Juliette Binoche that will steal your heart. Binoche offers the performance of a lifetime and her subtleties and use of her facial expressions are what makes you believe you are actually watching real life events. Chloë Grace Moretz plays a supporting role in this film and her character seems somewhat of a parody of Lindsay Lohan. Moretz is talented and develops the character over the course of the film, but is often outshone in her scenes.
It is written and directed by Olivier Assayas who clearly has an eye of picking up the subtleties of life. There’s a scene where Binoche’s character meets someone she will be working with for many months for the first time and the awkwardness of this moment is so relatable that it is almost cringe worthy. The other superb feature of this film is the incredible cinematography from Yorick Le Saux. His character close ups are equally sublime as his landscape shots, some of which could be confused for art! The interesting use of fade in and fade out scene changes demonstrates the passing of time well and it is interesting that the film is divided into 3 very different parts. The three parts represent different stages in the leading character’s life over around a year.
Another thing I love about this film is how Binoche’s character, who is an actress is working on a play, which is in many ways paralleling what is happening in the real life aspects of the movie. There are times when the characters are running lines when you are not sure if it the film’s dialogue or the play’s, in these moments you are truly made to notice how similar the characters are to the character’s in the play, while they hate to admit that – and at times hate the actual characters. This movie is also about interpretation and I think like the play in the film people will interpret this film differently based on their age, life experiences and experience with theatre or film.
Overall this movie is one not to be missed, it has a great script, and a superb cast, amazing cinematography and it raises questions – but doesn’t answer all of them for you. This is certainly food for thought and it is most definitely the best picture of the last 12 months.
Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay
Screening courtesy of Nixco Promotions