CIFF PREVIEW/REVIEW: Clouds of Sils Maria

This is a CIFF Capsule Review, Expect a Full Length Version at its Domestic Release.

Clouds of Sils Maria, the latest film by art house favorite Olivier Assayas, is a perceptive psychodrama concerned with issues of art, the artist, and celebrity. Juliette Binoche plays an aging actress at the peak of her drama career, but when she’s invited to participate in an updated version of the play that made her famous (in a role opposite of the one she played), she’s forced to reconsider both her career and her identity. Clouds abandons reality for something stranger, and a pervading ethereal atmosphere is well suited to orienting the audience to the tortured point of view of the characters. With Binoche is Kristen Stewart as her assistant, who, in a turn bound to make her a sensation in the art house crowd, nearly steals the picture. That might be part of the meta-narrative, along with Chloe Grace Moretz playing the foil. It’s not quite must-see cinema, but it is excellent.

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