The first real professional success for famed French actress Maria Enders was twenty years ago as the co-lead in writer Wilhelm Melchoir's play and subsequent movie "Maloja Snake", he who picked Maria, then an unknown, personally. She played Sigrid, an opportunistic eighteen year old in an emotionally dependent lesbian relationship with forty year old Helena, who was at a vulnerable stage of her life. Maria has turned down the play's upcoming London revival in which she would now play Helena, it remounted by director Klaus Diesterweg. Her reasons for turning down the role are many including: being at a vulnerable stage of her own life going through a painful divorce; remembering the suicide of Susan Rosenberg, the original Helena, following the original run of the play, the suicide purportedly mirroring what happens to Helena; and the painful memories of the production in still having hard feelings toward who was her older male costar, Henryk Wald, with who she had an affair at the ...Written by
Kristen Stewart was offered the role of Valentine and wanted to accept, but a misunderstanding with her agent led to another actress (Wasikowska) being cast. Stewart reached out to rectify what happened and was offered the role of Jo-Ann Ellis, but was unsure. Wasikowska later dropped out and Stewart was officially cast as Valentine. See more »
In the opening, the characters are riding in what is clearly a second-class rail car. This would be completely out of character, given what we see later in the movie. See more »
[Talking about the paparazzi crisis swirling around Christopher Giles]
The media is going to crucify him.
No, no. I'll take the heat. I'll be the homewrecker. I'm used to getting nasty shit written about me. I could obviously care less.
Do you want to cancel tomorrow's rehearsal? Maria, would you mind?
Of course not.
No way. No, no, no. I'd rather work.
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During the closing credits, four of the actors are shown under the heading "guest appearance by". See more »
The enigmatic title refers to both a climatic phenomenon called the "Maloja snake", which occurs in the Engadinean alpine pass in Switzerland, and to a village at one end of a local lake. The village is the home of an elderly playwright who much earlier wrote a work called "The Maloja Snake" about the complicated relationship between a young woman in her late teens (Sigrid) and her middle-aged female employer (Helena). The film is all about the re staging of this play in which actress Maria who originally took the younger role to great acclaim has now been invited to portray the older woman in the new interpretation.
It is unusual, but a pleasing change, for a film to have all its leading roles taken by women. Superb French actress Juliette Binoche, whom I have admired since her early English-language work ("Damage" and "The English Patient"), is Maria, struggling to come to terms with her different role in the play. American actress Kristen Stewart is excellent in the secondary role as Maria's personal assistant Valentine and so different from her "Twilight" movies. The third role is taken by another young American, Chloë Grace Moretz, who is the actress taking over as Sigrid in the play - again a very different persona from the one we have seen before in the "Kick-Ass" movies.
This is a wordy work but the words matter. At times, we are not sure if the interaction between the two main personages is between Helena and Sigrid or between Maria and Valentine and even between Binoche and Stewart. In truth, there are elements of all three which is how subtle and nuanced is this German-French-Swiss co-production written and directed by the French Olivier Assayas. Ultimately this is a film, like near contemporary "Birdman", about acting but, however much the American Academy may have feted "Birdman", I found "Clouds Of Sils Maria" much more intelligible and engaging.
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