Monday, 18 May 2015
The Clouds of Sils Maria.
I swear, recently I've been exiting the auditoriums of film theatres shaking my head in wonder and disbelief. I feel as if the seasons have become disordered, as if seagulls have taken to flying backwards. Something Weird is going on for the last, I thnk about eight) films I have seen, none of them have been shit! For me, a very firm believer in Sturgeon's Law- (90% of everything is crap) this is roughly the equivalent of picking a quinella twice in a day at the races- in other words dashed unlikely.
Simply the story of "Sils Maria" is that there is this famous actress well established with a long career. She is asked to perform in a revival of the play that made her famous when she was a young unknown; but there is a catch The play is the story of pair of women who form a younger/older lesbian couple. the younger woman destroys the older by manipulating her into eventual suicide. (in a typical example of recent period anti- gay melodrama, in a period where gay characters never reached the end of a film aliv. the catch however is that this time around she has been asked to play the older woman- the tragic suicide. Needless to say she has certain issues about acceptance, not the least of which are being forced to confront her own advancing years through the distorting lens of the character she brought to life decades earlier. But, as the man on the old actors home of late-night television says "ther's more"in "reality" a year after the original play ended the actress who played the tragic suicide died in a car accident now decades later the returning star has an entirely superstitious dread that the part may be "jinxed"- despite a noticeable paucity of evidence; But then aren't actors known to be remarkably superstitious people?
If this lead character sounds like a very complicated piece of work from my description here rest assured, she is. in matter of fact the I cannot remember the last time I saw a film as complexly charactered as "Sils Maria"- or as consistently well acted. Juliet Binochet surpasses good by a substantial distance. It is hard to believe that she is acting, she is so natural, but at the same time she is so all-encompassing that she can be nothing but a true star at the top of her form. that said she is very ably supported by a talented cast who seem to exist as a complicated melange of voluble intelligent and witty people. It's been a long time since I have enjoyed the company of a cast so much.The film moves on and ultimately, to my percerption, proved to be spooky in the very best way. As my wheelchair rolled out of the cinema to a drizzly cold Sydney day. I found that I doubted the sunlight. In Hamlet's words "There are more things in heaven and earth Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy