starring starring Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart, Chloë Grace Moretz, Lars Eidinger
written and directed by Olivier Assayas
by Angelo Muredda A master class on acting played simultaneously to the orchestra and the cheap seats, Olivier Assayas's Clouds of Sils Maria is an odd, beguiling thing. Juliette Binoche is Maria, an international star of film and theatre (naturally) on her way to accept an honorary award on behalf of the director and dramaturge who made her career when she was only eighteen in his infamous Maloja Snake, which sounds a lot like The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant by way of All About Eve. When he dies, Maria finds herself commissioned to star in a remake by a hotshot talent of the German stage, who sees her now as Helena, the older woman in the same-sex romantic drama, giving her role of the young seductress and abandoner Sigrid to rising starlet Jo-Ann Ellis (Chloë Grace Moretz). If that isn't enough, the text--a younger man's treatise on the loves and rivalries of women, as Maria has come to see it--has seemingly taken on a radioactive agency of its own, creeping into Maria's hip-joined relationship with soulmate, line-runner, and personal assistant Valentine (Kristen Stewart), who's becoming yet another Sigrid at about the same pace Maria is settling into Helena's skin.