“Clouds of Sils Maria” Review: Life, The Universe, and Comic Book Movies

David Conrad

David is the author of a forthcoming book on Japanese history and film. He has a Ph.D. in history from the University of Texas at Austin and loves period pieces, classics, and arthouse. He has also read nearly every word J.R.R. Tolkien ever wrote. @davidaconrad www.facebook.com/DavidConradAuthor/ www.davidconradauthor.com

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9 Responses

  1. Doug Gordon Doug Gordon says:

    Could this be anymore pompous? I don’t think so!

  2. Raven Little says:

    Doug Gordon: obviously you are unaware Kristen won the French Cesar for her performance in the movie…the equivalent of the Oscar. she is the first American woman to ever win this prestigious award. how sad you choose to be judgmental and negative about her without first seeing the movie or learning about the critical acclaim for her performance here in the States and abroad.

    David Conrad: excellent review – well done!

  3. To dismiss Synecdoche as a “remake” of 8 1/2 is to ignore its infatuation with architecture. 8 1/2 is an oozing dream logic about a man caught between stages of his life; Synecdoche is about the roles we construct, the plans we make, and how it can become difficult to even imagine changing course when the budget (fiscal, emotional, etc.) has long run out. This plays out in literal construction, as 8 1/2 dissolves into a pool of life experience that overwhelms and causes abandonment.

    They’re both great films! But that’s just it; they’re both great, and very, very independent. And I haven’t seen Sils Maria, so I really don’t mean to say it’s undeserving.

    (And, yeah, Doug, you have to be fairly out of the loop to think the conventional wisdom is that Kristen Stewart ruins movies. Have you seen any that aren’t Twilight or earlier?)

    • David Conrad says:

      Thanks for the comment, Alex! I didn’t mean to come across as dismissive — I loved Synecdoche, and I agree with you that it has certain unique properties. I chose it and the other two because they’re such ambitious and sensitive and deeply perceptive character-driven movies about identity and theater and change. But I did think Synecdoche was shockingly like 8 1/2 in many ways, and whenever I meet people who loved one I recommend the other.

      See Clouds of Sils Maria in theater while there’s still time!