With Clouds of Sils Maria on DVD now, here's Kyle Stevens on actors playing actors.
If you’re a reader of The Film Experience, then you’re probably no stranger to Juliette Binoche, who arguably has more masterpieces to her name than any other actor in cinema history. Binoche became a bona fide French star with André Téchiné’s Rendez-vous in 1985, which was written by the now celebrated director Olivier Assayas. Last year, Binoche asked Assayas to write something for her so that they might again collaborate. He came up with the astounding Clouds of Sils Maria.
Their film follows the great star Maria Enders as she struggles to accept playing Helena in Maloja Snake, a play written by her recently departed friend. The difficulty for Maria is that she first became famous playing the ingénue role, Sigrid, decades earlier, and so, the role of Helena forces her to confront her feelings about aging, feelings compounded by the fact that, within the play, Helena desires and resents Sigrid. To make matters even more baroquely complicated, Helena and Sigrid’s relationship mirrors Maria’s interactions with Val, her personal assistant, coolly played by Kristin Stewart. (Eventually, Chloe Grace-Moretz appears as a third bone-faced brunette, younger still, to play Sigrid.)
Given the laurels recently heaped upon flamboyantly reflexive turns in Blue Jasmine and Black Swan, is it too much to hope that Binoche will leave the red carpet well-worn come awards season—even if the early release and critical attention for Kristen Stewart make that seem unlikely now? [More...]