[maxgallery name=”french-cinema-now-clouds-of-sils-maria”]The San Francisco Film Society celebrated French filmography last week with the launch of their mini film festival French Cinema Now at Vogue Theater. Over the course of four days, the festival screened a variety of French films and concluded last Sunday night.
We attended the festival on Sunday and watched the last film, Clouds of Sils Maria. The movie, staring Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart, and Chloë Grace Moretz, is a 2014 drama film directed by Olivier Assayas and selected for the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. Director Assayas takes viewers on a journey through the life of Maria Enders (Binoche), a famous middle aged actress preparing to take on the “older role” in a play that launched her career decades before. She practices the lines with her personal assistant Valentine (Stewart) in a small town nestled near the Alps of Switzerland. Their rehearsals take them on hiking excursions where a sexual tension and dynamic interplay forms that blurs the distinction between practicing the lines and reality. We also are introduced to Jo-Ann Ellis (Moretz), a teenage internet sensation chosen to take on the “younger role” once played by Binoche years prior. Despite a sometimes slow pace, the story’s symbolism, deeper meanings, and reflections of the actresses’ real lives keep audiences mostly engaged for the movie’s 2 hour and 4 minute length. Both Binoche and Stewart are comfortable in their roles and give a natural seemingly effortless performance.