Clouds of Sils Maria (Olivier Assayas, 2014)


The latest from French director Olivier Assayas finally makes its way to Seattle screens this week, opening at Landmark’s Seven Gables Theatre. It stars Juliette Binoche as a very Binochian actress, highly accomplished in both the commercial and artier realms of her trade, as she reluctantly takes on a role in a play by the writer who gave her her big break at age 18. The play is about the toxic relationship between an older businesswoman and her ambitious young intern, and Binoche, having played the young half 20 years earlier, is now asked to take on the older part, a character whose weakness she despises. Kristen Stewart plays Binoche’s assistant, young and plugged into the world, who encourages Binoche to see the play and its characters in a new light. The bulk of the film follows their discussions as they practice lines in the picturesque Swiss Alps, and their relationship draws some expected parallels and unexpected divergences from the play itself.

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