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THE CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA: 2 STARS. “as self absorbed as the people it portrays.”

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 12.08.41 PM“The Clouds of Sils Maria” contains fine performances from its leads, Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart and Chloë Grace Moretz, some delicious irony, and some razor sharp commentary on the state of modern celebrity. What it’s missing is entertainment value.

French director Olivier Assayas has made an art house “Birdman,” with stunt casting but allows it to get weighed down by its ideas and melodrama.

Binoche is actress Maria Enders, an international star who got her start decades ago on stage playing the alluring Sigrid in “Maloja Snake,” a young woman who drove her boss Helena to suicide. When she is offered the role of the older woman in an all-star remounting of the play opposite Jo-Anne Ellis (Moretz), a scandal-prone Hollywood starlet, she retreats to the relative calm of Sils Maria, a rural town in the Alps, to rehearse with her assistant Val (Stewart) while contemplating aging, her past and her place in show business.

“The Clouds of Sils Maria” is as self absorbed as the people it portrays. The most interesting tangents, from a pop culture point of view, concern the character Val, who seems to be piercing the fourth wall by allowing Stewart to seemingly comment on her “Twilight” success and subsequent career. “I love her,” she says of Ellis, “she not completely antiseptic like the rest of Hollywood.” In fact, it’s more likely she’s referring to herself and her descent from Tween Queen to serious working actor.

“Clouds” is very much Binoche’s film—she’s in almost every scene and the action revolves around her—but thematically it’s not a stretch to see it as Stewart’s comment on her own career. “She’s brave enough to be herself,” Val says admiringly of Ellis, throwing down the gauntlet to critics who might questions her less than mainstream choices of late.

As interesting as that glimpse into Stewarts ID may be coupled with Maria’s fears of losing credibility, “The Clouds of Sils Maria’s” art vs. life premise takes pains to make the discovery of these points as obtuse as possible. Plot shards hang, interrupted by jarring scene transitions and needless narrative machinations. It’s the rare kind of movie that is undone by the very same cultural elitism it celebrates.

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