The history of SILS MARIA is a little complex but it is necessary to know in order to understand the reasoning offered by the film.
Wilhelm Melchior is a film director who adapted for the screen his own play, Maloja Snake. This piece reveals an actress at the time unknown, Maria Anders, in the role of Sigrid. In the room, Sigrid, a young woman of 20 years charismatic and confident, will carry on to Helena the patron saint, a sort of psychological domination and sex, which will lead to suicide. 20 years later, Maria Anders, now a great actress internationally recognized went accompanied by his faithful agent Valentine, a tribute for Wilhelm Melchior. The recent death of one triggers a wave of events that will lead to achieve the “reboot” of Maloja Snake… Except that, this time, with Maria Anders in the role of Helena, and Jo-Ann Ellis, belonging to a new generation of actresses, in the role of Sigrid.
Maria Anders, and Valentine, undertook to repeat all the role of Helena, in Sils Maria, a chalet lost in the mountains. A place of special importance, since it is the place where Wilhelm Melchior, creates the play Maloja Snake.
SILS MARIA is a thrilling tale that contains several movies in her womb :
A conflict of generations on which the link to the Movie is made as much by what that represents an actor or an actress in the eyes of the beholder, as by its role in a film.
A woman quarantenaire that calls into question his talent and his love for the Cinema, working with a new generation of filmmakers and performers.
A psychological evolution dependent over the desire, domination/submission.
Olivier Assayas gives us details about all that in two hours of incredibly intense or its actresses, and him will interact to create a great eight-metaphysics-logic-fine and sublime.
The film by Olivier Assayas observes and compares three generations ;
this parallel is not direct, but rather through a number of stages, put in abysses and confrontations.
The generation of the idols, symbolized in the film, exclusively by men. Wilhelm Melchior, a pastiche of Ingmar Bergman, is the intellectual counterpart, whereas Henryk Wald, actor, handsome and charismatic, but more a performer than intellectual, side superficial.
The generation of Maria Anders, actress-strength-of-proposal, playing a strong stimulation both intellectual and sensual, psychological and suggested.
The younger generation, that of Jo-Ann Ellis. It is a sort of cross between Lyndsay Lohan for her , and Amanda Siefried, . The first, for his escapades uncontrollable, the second for this public appearance, fragile and lovely young first destined to a great career. This type of actors is defined by an immediate accessibility and simplified ; a representation of the actress, based on the cult of the body (generation YouPorn), but a vulgarity masking a sensitivity to skin…
Valentine, agent Maria by his look, his expressions, his / her comfort with technology, tastes, symbolizes the youth mature.
She fully understands Maria Anders, the woman, failing to appreciate Maria Anders, actress. Which makes the obvious link between the two generations of actresses represented by Maria Anders and Jo-Ann Ellis.
Maria Anders also seeks his place among the men who allegedly omnipotent in their understanding of women (indirectly represented by Olivier Assayas). The wishes and requirements of the public have changed at the same time as the technological evolution of media, this is for Maria Anders to understand, and then adapt to these new mores, to remain up to date.
The film by Olivier Assayas, it manages to capture the zeitgeist via a look aging but curious.
The boundary between the game and reality, the mise en abyme, the actress and the role.
Maria needs to prepare for the role of Helena. for this reason, she requests the aid of Valentine, which acts as a reader of the piece. This piece is a fantasy of the author in disguise, which sexualizes and perverts the roles. These repeats are therefore the theatre of a real domination, progressive, the assistant on her boss, sexual as psychological ; it is a conflict of youth against age.
Beyond the performance of actresses who played a role in the role, it is the skill of dialogue which really puts in value the performance. This room that Maria and Valentine repeated, is a veritable engine of progress in psychological, which causes intelligently and subtly the status of submission/domination in which these women are going to be placed.
In addition, the famous Sils Maria of the title is a mountain pass in which is formed a cloud of strange, flowing the top to the bottom of the valley, like a snake, and called the Majola Snake, the title of the famous play/movie starring Sigrid and Helena.
This place, Sils Maria, is the one that chooses Maria Anders to prepare for his role, with the help of Valentine. The two women place themselves in a situation of closed session to fully integrate the role, add to the interpretation, and by the develop exponentially to inner feelings, leading to the interpretation perfect for the character of Helena.
This beautiful place (and magnified by the staging of Assayas) isolates and adds to the sense of introspection that is sought by these two women.
The snake of clouds Maloja Snake, symbolizes so many things, the time / youth passing by, with melancholy latent, a desire, an attraction irresistible, a reminder of the original sin, the lust of knowledge and the knowledge of the ultimate ; It also symbolizes, two visions of the youth, exacerbated by the character of Sigrid in the play Maloja Snake by Wilhelm Melchior with Maria Anders in 1994, then in Maloja Snake 2 by Klaus Diesterweg with Jo-Ann Ellis 2014.
“An example of communion between a director and his actresses in order to build together the scenario and the development of complex characters.”
Olivier Assayas takes place mostly on the side of Maria to Anders, since he belongs to this generation. His profile of filmmaker wife, the profile of the actress. However, his intelligence lies in his confidence in his actors, their ability to transcend a script without too much doubt égocentriste to deliver a shared reflection in three points of view between generations. The result is a vision of the world of contemporary cinema, or the complacency of a generation thinking the best is compensated by a point of view nuanced and intelligent on the other.
In Sils Maria, actresses, delivering their vision of Cinema, for their game hyper accurate and fair, that the director delivers his own.
It is a real communion actresses/director.
Juliette Binoche is absolutely outstanding in his interpretation (?) Maria Anders. Character certainly written down, but lived. Empathy or rather the understanding of this complex character is immediate.
Kristen Stewart, the most surprising, adopts a neutral tone that leaves a lot of shadows and doubt on his psychological involvement in the life of Maria Anders. Seduction? domination? Attitude professional?
Finally, Chloë Grace Moretz as Jo-Ann Ellis the hard role, representative of a generation depreciated by Maria Anders (by Olivier Assayas?) ; she gives him yet a presence that is credible and respectable, who exists by his ill-being, without any other limit than that of the media recognition. A composition is also troubling since it is full of contradictions borne.
The complementarity of this casting is a huge force in this film. It allows you to give a weight unheard of in the reflection proposed by Assayas. The actresses who understood their role and how much force to give their interpretation of it, much better than the director himself. She transcends the script written for them and transform a simple fantasy of the author in a genuine metaphysical questions about the variation of the self.
Olivier Assayas, with a delicacy unheard assembles all these elements to provide us with a portrait of a woman full, in the case of the profession of actress.
Olivier Assayas, screenwriter, dialogue writer and director-actor at the top in this Sils Maria.