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TIFF 2014: Clouds of Sils Maria

September 12, 2014

directed by Olivier Assayas, 2014

Clouds of Sils Maria

“Everything is hitting me at once,” announces Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche), just minutes into director Olivier Assayas’ English-language film Clouds of Sils Maria. It’s a subtle line that quickly introduces us to the frazzled female headspace that Assayas and Binoche have jointly crafted in this Bergman-esque melodrama. Representing a minor change of pace for Assayas, whose prior film Something in the Air (2012) found the director working back in his comfort zone with a youthful period drama, Sils Maria plays like a disappointing relative to the director’s brilliant Irma Vep (1996). Where Irma Vep boasted radical textures, doubling as a crackling satire of French cinema culture and a pulsating experiment riding high on the fumes of its own coolness, Sils Maria is at times wispy and insightful, but its familiar thematics are more taxing than absorbing. Expectations usually run high with Assayas, a critic’s darling and established auteur for some time, but his latest is an inert misfire that never quite finds its proper footing.

Read full review at Sound on Sight

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