Clouds of Sils Maria

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Clouds of Sils Maria
Clouds of Sils Maria film poster.png
French theatrical poster
Directed by Olivier Assayas
Produced by Charles Gillibert
Written by Olivier Assayas
Cinematography Yorick Le Saux
Edited by Marion Monnier
CG Cinéma
Pallas Film
CAB Productions
Vortex Sutra
Arte France Cinéma
Orange Studio
Radio Télévision Suisse
SRG SSR idée suisse[1]
Distributed by
Release dates
  • 23 May 2014 (2014-05-23) (Cannes)
  • 20 August 2014 (2014-08-20) (France)
  • 10 April 2015 (2015-04-10) (United States)
Running time
123 minutes[4]
  • Germany
  • France
  • Switzerland
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Swiss German
Budget $6.6 million[5]
Box office $3.5 million[6]

Clouds of Sils Maria (known simply as Sils Maria in some territories) is a 2014 drama film written and directed by Olivier Assayas, and starring Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart, and Chloë Grace Moretz. The film is a French-German-Swiss co-production.[7] It was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or in the main competition section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival on 23 May 2014, and also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and New York Film Festival. It won the Louis Delluc Prize for Best Film in December 2014 and a best supporting actress César Award for Kristen Stewart in February 2015.

Plot summary[edit]

Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche) is a famous international movie star and stage actress. She travels with a loyal young American assistant, Valentine (Kristen Stewart). She owes her career to having been cast, 20 years earlier, in both the play and film versions of Maloja Snake by Wilhelm Melchior, a now elderly Swiss playwright. The play centers on the tempestuous relationship between a callous young girl ("Sigrid") and a vulnerable older woman ("Helena") who is eventually driven to suicide. While traveling to Zurich to accept an award on behalf of Melchior, and planning to visit him the following day at his house in Sils Maria—a remote settlement in the Alps—Maria learns of his sudden death. His widow Rosa later confides in her that Wilhelm's death was suicide and that he had been terminally ill. During the awards ceremony, Maria is approached by a popular theatre director who is trying to persuade her to appear on stage in Maloja Snake again, but this time in the role of the older woman.

Maria is torn and only reluctantly accepts. To prepare for the role she accepts Rosa's offer of the Melchiors' house in Sils Maria, which Rosa is leaving to escape her memories of Wilhelm. Maria's discussions with Valentine and their read-throughs of the play's scenes combine to evoke uncertainty about the nature of their actual relationship. A hot young American actress, Jo-Ann Ellis (Chloë Grace Moretz), has been chosen to interpret the role of "Sigrid", but her scandals are ubiquitous in Google searches, YouTube videos, and tidbits of contemporary cultural knowledge as relayed by Valentine to the somewhat out-of-touch, middle-aged Maria.

Questions regarding aging, time, culture and the thin line between the characters of the-play-in-the-film and those we are seeing on the screen multiply. Maria and Jo-Ann finally meet, but their relationship is complicated by yet another eruption of chaos in Jo-Ann's life (she has driven the German wife of her new British, novelist boyfriend to attempt suicide). Maria and Valentine spend much of their days hiking in the Alps and on a final such outing—to observe a mysterious early morning meteorological/geological phenomenon (the "Maloja Snake" of the play's title)—the disconsolate Valentine disappears without explanation. Six weeks later, the key to the resolution is offered by a young filmmaker who visits Maria by appointment five minutes before curtain on the opening night of Maloja Snake in London, but she seems preoccupied and dismisses the offering as "too abstract for me". The final scene of the film indicates however that the penny may have dropped…or not; she is on stage, smoking and waiting for "Sigrid" to pass through the offices collecting outgoing folders.[8]



Principal photography of Clouds of Sils Maria began on 22 August 2013 and ended on 4 October.[10] The film was shot on location in the titular village of Sils Maria, Switzerland as well as Zurich, Leipzig, Germany and South Tyrol, Italy.

Chanel debuted in film financing and supplied the actresses with clothes, jewelry, accessories and makeup, while also providing some of the budget to allow Olivier Assayas to fulfill his dream of shooting a film on 35-mm film instead of digitally.[11]

The American title of the film is Clouds of Sils Maria, but in France the film is known by the original name, Sils Maria.[12]

Marketing and festivals[edit]

The first trailer for the film was released on 22 May 2014.[13] Another international trailer followed on 7 July.[14]

It was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or in the main competition section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival on 23 May 2014.[15] It also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and New York Film Festival.[16][17]


Critical reception[edit]

Clouds of Sils Maria premiered at the Cannes Film Festival to positive reviews. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports a "Certified Fresh" score of 89% based on 135 reviews with an average rating of 7.6 out of 10. The site's consensus reads, "Bolstered by a trio of powerful performances from its talented leads, Clouds of Sils Maria is an absorbing, richly detailed drama with impressive depth and intelligence."[18] On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 reviews from film critics, the film holds an average score of 78, based on 41 reviews, indicating a "generally favorable reviews" response.[19]

Robbie Collin of the The Daily Telegraph stated, "This is a complex, bewitching and melancholy drama, another fearlessly intelligent film from Assayas" and, praising the performance, said, "Binoche plays the role with elegance and melancholic wit – her character slips between fiction and fact in a way that recalls her role in Abbas Kiarostami’s Certified Copy. But it’s Stewart who really shines here. Valentine is probably her best role to date: she’s sharp and subtle, knowable and then suddenly distant, and a late, surprising twist is handled with a brilliant lightness of touch."[20]

Peter Debruge of Variety said it was Assayas' "daring rejoinder, a multi-layered, femme-driven meta-fiction that pushes all involved—including next-gen starlets Kristen Stewart and Chloë Grace Moretz — to new heights."[21] Matt Risley of Total Film called it "an elegant, intelligent drama, enlivened by strong performances by Binoche, Moretz and especially Stewart, for whom this will surely usher in a new dawn."[22]

Stephanie Zacharek of The Village Voice wrote: "But the movie's true center, the meteorological phenomenon that makes it so pleasurable to watch, is the half-prickly, half-affectionate interplay between Binoche and Stewart."[23] Ben Sachs of Chicago Reader wrote: "This recalls Ingmar Bergman's chamber dramas in the intensity and psychological complexity of the central relationship, yet the filmmaking is breathtakingly fluid, evoking a sense of romantic abandon."[24]

However, Kyle Smith of the New York Post writes: "A backstage drama that has all the sizzle of a glass of water resting on the windowsill, [...] Clouds of Sils Maria mistakes lack of dramatic imagination for smoldering subtlety."[25]

Box office[edit]

Clouds of Sils Maria opened in France on 20 August 2014 in 150 theaters for a $3,663 per theater average and a box office total of $549,426 as of 24 August 2014.[26] The film expanded to 195 theaters in its second week of release and the box office increased to an estimated $1,150,090.

Clouds of Sils Maria opened in the United States on 10 April 2015 in three theaters and grossed $69,729 on its opening weekend for an average of $23,243 per. As of 4 June 2015, the film has grossed an estimated $1,743,577 after expanding theaters.[27][28]

Awards and nominations[edit]

The film won the Louis Delluc Prize for Best Film in December 2014.[29] The film received six César Award nominations including best film, best director, best actress, best original screenplay, and best cinematography, while Stewart won for best supporting actress, becoming the first American actress to win a César and the second American actor to win after Adrien Brody in 2003.[30][31]


Home Media[edit]

The film will be released on DVD and Digital HD by Paramount Home Media on July 14, 2015, the company will also handle the digital entertainment sales, with IFC handling the video on demand sales.[32]


  1. ^ "Charles Gillibert Launches CG Cinema (EXCLUSIVE)". Retrieved 26 October 2013. 
  2. ^ "IFC Films Snaps Up Oliver Assayas' ‘Sils Maria’ with Juliette Binoche & Mia Wasikowska". Retrieved 26 October 2013. 
  3. ^ "Clouds of Sils Maria". Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  4. ^ "CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 8 April 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  5. ^
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  7. ^ Blaney, Martin (17 December 2013). "German-French fund backs Pitts, Sokurov". Screen International. EMAP International Limited. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  8. ^ "Sils Maria". Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  9. ^ Daniel Bruhl, Bruno Ganz & More Join Olivier Assayas' 'Sils Maria' With Juliette Binoche, Chloe Moretz & Kristen Stewart
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Kristen Stewart Assists an Insecure Juliette Binoche in 'Clouds of Sils Maria' Debut Trailer (Video)". 22 May 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  14. ^ Anderton, Ethan (7 July 2014). "Kristen Stewart in New International 'Clouds of Sils Maria' Trailer". Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  15. ^ "2014 Official Selection". Cannes. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  16. ^ "TIFF ’14 Adds ‘Clouds of Sils Maria,’ ‘Two Days, One Night,’ ‘The Cobbler,’ ‘Paradise Lost,’ and More". Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  17. ^ "Cronenberg, Godard in New York Film Fest Lineup". Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ Clouds of Sils Maria at Metacritic Retrieved 10 April 2015
  20. ^ Collin, Robbie (23 May 2014). "Clouds of Sils Maria, review: 'bewitching'". The Daily Telegraph. UK. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  21. ^ "Cannes Film Review: ‘Clouds of Sils Maria’". Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  22. ^ "Cannes 2014: Clouds of Sils Maria reaction review". Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
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  26. ^ "France Box Office: August 20–24, 2014". Box Office Mojo. 
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  29. ^ "'Sils Maria' Wins France’s Louis Delluc Critics' Prize". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  30. ^
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External links[edit]