This week’s HIC film was due to have been WHO YOU THINK I AM, a French-language drama based on the novel by Camille Laurens, adapted and directed by Safy Nebbou, and starring Juliette Binoche.
Claire (Binoche), a 50-year-old divorced teacher, creates a fake Facebook profile of a 24-year-old woman. She finds a photo of a pretty young brunette online and uses it. She has created an entirely fictional character, but why? Originally she did it to spy on Ludo (Guillaume Gouix), her on-and-off lover. But Ludo only accepts friend requests from people he knows personally. To get to Ludo, Claire sends his best friend Alex (François Civil) a friend request and he accepts. The pair begins to exchange messages and their fake friendship turns into a fake love affair. Claire is in love with Alex and he is in love with her fake profile. Now he wants to meet the 24-year-old beauty he’s been chatting with. She invents a busy job, professional trips and even a jealous ex. The more and more in love they are the more the situation becomes unbearable. Claire is torn between the impossibility of this love and the pain of having to admit her deception and risk losing it.
This is a compelling thriller about identity, deceit and the impact humans have on one another when they hide behind a screen and keyboard. Of course, anything starring La Binoche is going to be worth a watch, and this is no exception, with her turning in a performance that is “elegant, ingenious and sexy” (The Guardian). The film had its premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival and has been getting solid reviews prior to its intended April release. Instead of cinema screens, the film can now be found exclusively at Curzon Home Cinema.
Why look any further than the wonderful Juliette Binoche for a connection to this week’s recommended film? We’re suggesting CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA, Olivier Assayas’s enigmatic drama from 2014, also starring Kristen Stewart and Chloë Grace Moretz.
At the peak of her international career, Maria Enders (Binoche) is asked to perform in a revival of the play that made her famous twenty years ago. but back then she played the role of Sigrid, an alluring young girl who disarms and eventually drives her boss Helena to suicide. Now she is being asked to step into the other role, that of the older Helena. She departs with her assistant (Stewart) to rehearse in Sils Maria; a remote region of the Alps. A young Hollywood starlet with a penchant for scandal (Moretz) is to take on the role of Sigrid, and Maria finds herself on the other side of the mirror, face to face with an ambiguously charming woman who is, in essence, an unsettling reflection of herself.
The film won Kristen Stewart a César (French Academy Award) for her performance, alongside five other César nominations, a nomination for the Palme d’Or at Cannes, and prizes at festivals and award ceremonies around the world. It’s “a feast of rich writing and great acting” (Empire Magazine), with Kristen Stewart in particular achieving “the impressive feat of outshining Binoche” (Little White Lies).
CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA was a highlight of Hull Film Festival 2015, but if you missed it then or want to catch it again, you can find it to buy or rent on a range of digital platforms including Curzon Home Cinema and YouTube.