Exploring Femininity in Clouds of Sils Maria

Olivier Assayas’s Clouds of Sils Maria brings together Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart to play out a psychologically complex relationship between two women. Binoche, once again teaming up with Assayas, after starring in his 2008 drama Summer Hours, is Maria Enders, a celebrated actor of stage and screen who is preparing to rejoin the cast of the play that made her a star—but this time, she’ll portray the older female lead, instead of her younger foil. Stewart, giving a beautifully nuanced performance for which she became the first American woman to win France’s César Award, inverts her real-life star status to embody Valentine, Maria’s devoted assistant, who treads a fine line between employee and confidante. When the pair travel to a cottage in the Swiss Alps to prepare for Maria’s new role, the boundaries between them become increasingly murky, as the ever-sensitive Assayas examines the pressures and pleasures of the artistic life and the various roles we all assume each day.

In a new program on our release (out now on Blu-ray and DVD), Binoche and Stewart share their experiences working with Assayas and each other; in the clip above, watch them delve further into the film’s exploration of femininity and the complexities of the fascinating dynamic between their two characters.

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