Juliette Binoche (left) and Kristen Stewart (right) soar above the Clouds of Sils Maria, opening Friday, May 1.
I've looked at clouds from both sides now--and that would be both sides of the border. I've had the pleasure of screening Clouds of Sils Maria, an elegantly complex aria from writer/director Olivier Assayas (Carlos, Irma Vep) twice: first at its North American premiere during the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival and again recently, which prompted me to dust off my notes from last September's TIFF.
"Revelatory. Dense. Precise. Loved it," I scribbled in my notebook seven months ago. "Could Juliette Binoche be any more perfect?"
Having talked to the Oscar-winning Ms. Binoche on a few occasions over the years, I must concede to being a bit tongue-tied in her presence; for me, her beauty is matched only by her artistry. In her latest project, that loveliness is eclipsed by some stunning vistas of the Swiss Alps, which play a key role in the film.
"I've worked with Olivier twice before [in 1985's Rendez-vous and 2008's Summer Hours]; but this time it was me who approached him for a new project," Binoche told Boise Weekly in Toronto. "And he put together a beautiful story about the certainties of being, and the uncertainties of being; and life's marriage of those certainties and uncertainties."
Binoche's portrayal of mature film actress Maria dances among those uncertainties throughout Clouds of Sils Maria—not unlike the real-world, river-like clouds high above Sils Maria, Switzerland, which snake through the peaks of the Alps high above the Swiss lake country. When the clouds form that river and rush through the Alps during a crucial scene in Clouds of Sils Maria—and whatever you do, don't miss this part of the movie—you may be inclined to agree with me that that particular cinematic experience is, alone, worth the price of admission.