The Wall Street Journal:
Perhaps the chic-est crowds of the New York Film Festival showed up at two premiere parties this week.
The first was to celebrate “Clouds of Sils Maria, ” the latest from the French director Olivier Assayas, which will be released by Sundance Selects in the spring.
The movie stars Juliette Binoche as an aging actress who has a complicated, co-dependent relationship with her assistant, played by Kristen Stewart. As they run lines for a play, their relationship changes. Much like “Birdman,” a film starring Michael Keaton that closes the festival Saturday, “Sils Maria” is a meditation on the passage of time, the blurred lines between performance and reality and the complications of working in Hollywood in the information age.
After their screening at Alice Tully Hall, Ms. Binoche, Ms. Stewart and Mr. Assayas were joined at Omar’s on Ninth Street by Patti Smith, Kim Gordon, Viggo Mortensen, Chloë Sevigny, Willem Dafoe, Nicholas Hoult and Sharon Stone.
Ms. Stewart, whose first big role was in 2002’s “Panic Room” when she was 12, said that she’d never had a relationship with an assistant like the one portrayed in “Sils Maria.” In fact, she encouraged a former assistant to fly the coop because she felt he had the potential for far more creative endeavors than keeping tabs on her schedule.
“We’re more like friends,” Ms. Stewart said. “And I told him, ‘We’ll eventually work on projects together, but for now, you should go do your own thing.’”
On the other hand, Ms. Binoche has had the same assistant for 18 years. “We have moments that are very, very close,” she said. “There’s a lot of respect and a lot of understanding, quite a bit of trust and love, and she knows how to adapt. She can cook if I need her to cook, and she can read a script and talk about it. But I also leave her to do what she feels she needs to do. Still, I’ve never rehearsed a film with her. That’s the difference between reality and fiction.”
On Wednesday night, a crowd of notable New York Film Festival attendees filled the West Village restaurant Omar’s to celebrate the Moncler, W Magazine, and Cinema Society-hosted premiere of Olivier Assayas’s new drama Clouds of Sils Maria. Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart, who star in the film as an aging actress and her assistant, respectively, were on hand to celebrate with a crew of supporters like Willem Dafoe, Sharon Stone, Viggo Mortensen, Chloe Sevigny, Kim Gordon, Peter Facinelli, and Patti Smith.
Stewart, having changed from the embellished Chanel Couture dress she wore to the screening, looked cozy in black jeans, Vans, and a beanie as she discussed what drew her to the film. “It’s a really solid story,” she said. “Other than the obvious comments it makes about a world I’m really familiar with and not too many people are—which is the insanity of the media in America—the relationship between those two women is so unique. I have not seen that relationship depicted in a film ever.” Her pride in Clouds was shared by Binoche. “It was such a gift given to me as an actress to have this story written,” the actress said. “There was something genuine about the experience that made it special to my heart.”
Meanwhile, the Cinema Society and Moncler hosted a post-screening fete for Juliette Binoche’s new film, Clouds of Sils Maria, at downtown restaurant Omar’s. “With the words you have to say and embody, they have to resonate truthfully in yourself,” said the French actress on acting at the after-party, wearing a Fausto Puglisi embellished skirt. “You put yourself in a situation of truth, and that resonates with the fragility of all actresses.” The Clouds of Sils Maria, a deeply intense film that touches upon age within the film industry, as well as self-realization and seclusion, also stars young actresses Kristen Stewart and Chloë Grace Moretz.
Stewart, who looked effortlessly cool in a blazer, jeans, and Miloh hat, spoke about working with the legendary Binoche: “At first, it was terrifying. Yet she has an innate ability to pull you out of yourself. You find yourself sitting with her and, in a matter of moments, you really do drop every guard and become insanely thoughtful. She is a lofty thinker. We also are really fond of each other and we make each other laugh.”
Eat your hearts out, hackers and Twihards. You won’t connect with Kristen Stewart online.
She cannot even imagine sharing her life with followers.
“What would I tweet about? Who are you talking to? What are you saying? Imagine sitting here right now and thinking, ‘That’s a good thing to say to the world?’ I can’t even understand it,” she told us.
But Stewart is out there. You just don’t know it.
“I have a private Instagram so I can keep in touch with my friends because I’m always away. That’s not social media. We have a shared photo stream,” she says.
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