Fiction, reality mingle for Kristen Stewart in Cannes

Kristen Stewart arrives for the screening of the film "Clouds of Sils Maria" at the 67th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, on May 23, 2014. ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images

Kristen Stewart made a late cameo at the Cannes Film Festival, where she received warm reviews for a self-referential performance alongside Juliette Binoche.

Olivier Assayas' "Clouds of Sils Maria" premiered Friday as the last film to screen at Cannes. In it, Stewart plays the cell-phone-tethered assistant to an international veteran actress named Maria Enders, played by Binoche. In the film about actresses and age, reality and fiction playfully mingle for Stewart and Binoche.

When the two arrive in front of a sea of photographers, the paparazzi ignore Stewart, who rushes to open the door for her boss. Toggling through prospective roles for Enders, the "Twilight" star notes one that has werewolves "for some reason." And retelling tabloid stories about a famous, scandal-plagued Hollywood starlet (played by Chloe Grace Moretz), she defends it without a wink: "It's celebrity news. It's fun."

"For Kristen to play the assistant was hilarious," said Binoche. "Those kind of details she knows more than I do, in a way, because she's really in a world of paparazzi and all that. We had a lot of discussions about that."

Actors often come to Cannes to unveil a more artistically ambitious version of themselves. Stewart was at the festival two years ago with the Jack Kerouac adaptation "On the Road." Her "Twilight" co-star Robert Pattinson also drew raves earlier at the festival this year for his performances in David Michod's "The Rover" and David Cronenberg's "Maps to the Stars."

Portraits of actresses have been a mainstay at this year's Cannes. It opened with Nicole Kidman playing Grace Kelly in "Grace of Monaco," a critically savaged melodrama about Kelly marrying into Monaco royalty. In the Hollywood satire "Maps to the Stars," Julianne Moore plays a hysterically desperate aging actress in Los Angeles.

"Clouds of Sils Maria" also features an actress reconciling herself to the passage of time. While Enders and her assistant live remotely in the Swiss Alps, Enders contemplates taking the older role in a play she performed in 20 years earlier.

"The whole thing was kind of surreal," said co-star Lars Eidinger, who plays a film director.

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