Friday, March 3, 2017

Who launched a thousand questions

I've seen some of the films of Olivier Assayas,
and some more of those of Juliette Binoche, for
whom he created The Clouds of Sils Maria in 2014,
just released by Criterion in dvd. I knew nothing
of the actor depicted in this still shot from the
same movie, her character watching the screening
of another movie, shot in monochrome in the 20's.

She is the most compelling screen presence in my
experience since Jeanne Moreau, whose extravagant
of such charismatic allure that it is thrillingly
exhausting to assimilate their diversity and con-
tradictions in real time. Juliette Binoche draws
many of them; others, she ripostes with an almost
sovereign indulgence. But Kristen Stewart was the
Dynamo, Binoche the Virgin in Assayas' reverie on 
collaboration in the arts, and she places a small 
film, for me, alongside the best of Orson Welles.

If it were his Othello, she would be his Micheál
Mac Liammóir; his Chimes at Midnight, his Moreau.
But the Moreau everyone will remember spontaneous-
ly, in watching Clouds of Sils Maria, is the one
who ran the legs off Jules et Jim for Truffaut,
and keeps his name the most beloved since Renoir.

Olivier Assayas
  Director and 
The Clouds of Sils Maria
Studio Canal et al, 2014©

Henry Adams
Mont St Michel and Chartres
Princeton University Press, 1981©

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