Clouds of Sils Maria ★★★★★

A heady psychosexual drama that’s steeped in dense anxieties and rich European glamour (the film was partially funded by Chanel), Olivier Assayas’s latest finds the French auteur at the very top of his game. Combining the acute professional paranoia of All About Eve with the existential crisis of Persona, Clouds of Sils Maria stars the remarkably accomplished Juliette Binoche as Maria Enders, a fading star who’s agreed to be in a revival of the play that made her famous as a young ingenue. This time, however, Maria isn’t performing the part of the seductive teenager awakening to the power of her sexuality; she’s playing the older woman who’s wrapped around the girl’s finger. Retreating to the Swiss Alps with her unfailingly honest assistant (Kristen Stewart, a deadpan revelation), Maria begins a rehearsal process that will force her to grapple with the presentness of her past.

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