Movie of the Day: “Clouds of Sils Maria” (2014)

by Neil Fauerso March 18, 2020

Clouds of Sils Maria

Ed note: During the COVID-19 situation, Glasstire’s Neil Fauerso will bring you interesting (perhaps unexpected) movie recommendations. You can stream these at home. He’s also posting these on his Instagram.

I had, embarrassingly, missed this 2014 movie until now, and was blown away. Many directors have made pictures that pay homage or otherwise respond to Bergman’s Persona (1966), but none, with the exception of Mulholland Drive, have been as sprightly and creative.

In this highly meta play-within-a-play, Juliette Binoche plays a famed actress returning to her breakthrough work, this time playing the older woman instead of the ingénue. An excellent Kristen Stewart plays her arch assistant, often assuming a version of the role Binoche herself played 30 years ago. It is purposefully difficult to discern whether they’re running lines, or if their “dialogue” is real. This is a rare movie about showbiz that successfully uses the surreal ennui of fame and luxury as a template for genuine philosophical provocation (as opposed to simple naval gazing).

It is also  a quietly, cinematically dazzling experience — with beautiful cinematography of the Swiss Alps, a silent film interlude (explicating the meteorological phenomenon of the film’s title), and a nightmarish, Lynchian hungover morning mountain drive. 4.5/5

Streaming via both Amazon and Criterion Channel

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Ann March 18, 2020 - 23:16



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