Opening 18 Dec 2014
The Maloja Snake does not bite. But it sneaks up on you and brings bad weather with it. In Clouds of Sils Maria, this weather phenomenon in the Engadin Valley stands for the change of generations and the progression of age. Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche) has once come to fame acting as a young seductress of an older woman in the play Maloja Snake by Wilhelm Melchior. Decades later, she is on her way to receive an award on behalf of him with her personal assistant Valentine (Kristen Stewart). But Melchior dies while they are on their way. The loss of her mentor, a gruesome divorce, and the challenge to change her laudation into an obituary have already shaken up Maria’s emotional stability. But her ultimate challenge is yet to come. Klaus Diesterweg (Lars Eidinger), a famous theater director, wants her to play in a remake of Maloja Snake. This time, however, she would not be the seductress, but the older woman who is driven to suicide.
“What would I have to do for you to admire me?” says Maria to Valentine at one point in the movie. She has realized that she is not 18 anymore and feels defeated by age. She cannot grasp what actually happened between the time were she was young and beautiful and had life’s opportunities ahead of her and the now, where wisdom and confidence are supposed to compensate the loss of youth. From this point on, the movie progresses like an intimate play with an emotional triangle, which consists of her assistant and the new cast for the seductress, Jo-Ann (Chloë Grace Moretz). This great multi-layered movie picks up on many themes, such as the influence of celebrity-hype and media on people’s lives. But above all, it is a film about fulfillment in the course of one’s life. (Katia Trost)