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  September Movie Review

 

Clouds of Sils Maria

From Paramount

        Review by: Ronya

This wonderful, ethereal, subtly-layered drama stars Juliette Binoche as aging film star Maria Enders and Kristen Stewart as her personal assistant Valentine. Maria has second thoughts about taking a mature role in a reprise of the play that launched her career as a young actress; all the same, she continues to rehearse with Valentine’s help. The entire production comments on the roles of women in a profession that equates aging with obsolescence; examines identity--dialogue sometimes refers to Maria or Valentine or to the characters in the play--without being confusing; and explores the value of staying true to art despite commercial, social or personal forces. Binoche and Stewart give balanced performances, neither taking the film away from the other; Binoche, Stewart, and writer/director Olivier Assayas garnered many well-deserved nominations and awards. Stewart in particular won France's Cesar Award--the only U.S. actor to do so.

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