#TIFF14: “CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA”
Review by Justin Waldman for Mr. Will Wong
Clouds of Sils Maria, the latest from Festival Circuit Favourite and acclaimed Director Olivier Assayas, focuses on Actress Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche) and her Assistant Val (Kristen Stewart) as they prepare Maria for the challenge of her Career. She established her Career as an Actress playing the Role of Sigrid in the Maloja Snake. Now some 20 years later, she is asked to revisit that exact Play. However instead of playing the role of Sigrid, she is being asked to play the much older role of Helena, for which Maria is now of appropriate age. Maria and Val disappear off into Sils Maria to focus on preparing Maria for the Role of her life. However, as time progresses and we delve deeper into the relationship between Maria and Val, seeing the Play and life itself driving a wedge between the two. Can Maria and Val remain Companions while maintaining their unique Employeer/Employee dynamic or is the damage too far down the road? As well, can Maria overcome her personal issues in conquering the Role of Helena?
Throughout Clouds of Sils Maria, we are presented with some riveting performances. Binoche undoubtedly is fantastic, but the biggest surprise was Stewart who thrives in Val’s emotional conflict, stepping outside her comfort zone. The Film is a fascinating Story about Mentors and responsibility, as well as coming to terms with your life choices. Its performances resonate and you truly feel something for the two Leads.
CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA screens Thursday, September 4, 2014 9:45 PM at Princess of Wales Theatre and Friday, September 5, 2014 9:30 AM at TIFF Bell Lightbox.