I dived into this film without reading any synopsis. The only thing I knew about it was that Kristen Stewart won an award for her acting in it. While the reason for watching this film was purely for Kristen Stewart’s acting, the reasons I liked this film after watching it, were more than that.
It was an intellectually engaging film. I really loved the parts when Maria and Valentine were debating about the character Maria was going to play. It felt like one of those literature classes I used to have, just that now we are seeing it through the eyes of the actress. Although I knew the need for an actor or actress to understand their character, I didn’t expect the analysis to be so intense. It somehow made me appreciate the craft.
It also open my eyes to the industry and how an actress can have a personal assistant to run lines with her and run her errands. The idea of a personal assistant, like a secretary, has always been something administrative. But here, the personal assistant, Valentine, does more than that. She was given the liberty to express her own opinions; she was able to engage with her superior.
There were so many parallels drawn in the film. With his charisma, Director Klaus persuaded Maria to revisit a play she once acted in but she now plays the older character, Helena, who is also the boss of the younger character Maria used to play, Sigrid. 20 years ago, Sigrid was the character that paved the way for Maria’s career as an actress.
As the film went on, I realised that Maria feels frustrated with the older character she is playing but was acting like her to Valentine, as her superior. This draws a parallel between how Maria is as a superior to Valentine and the role she plays. I googled for the film analysis and found that this film was, in fact, an inflection of the actress who played Maria, Juliette Binoche. The film, ‘Cloud of Sils Maria’ was created by Olivier Assayas who also co-wrote the film, ‘Rendez-vous’, which helped kick-start her career. A parallel is drawn even outside of the film, from the actress career’s point of view.
This piece of information from Guardian’s article really surprised me but leaves me even more fascinated with the film. It was an inception of the actress’ career and a deep reflection of it.
‘Cloud of Sils Maria’ is a film by Olivier Assayas in 2014. It starred Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart and Chloe Grace Moretz. It won the Best Film section for Prix Louis Delluc, 2014. Kristen Stewart won several awards for acting in this film, notably the Cesár Award for Best Supporting Actress as she is the first American to win it.