A dark star hangs over “The Morning Star,” Sophie Blondy’s tiresome circus romp. Begun under Jean-Francois Fonlupt’s MonFilm shingle, pic hit the skids last year when the producer bailed, leaving bouncing paychecks; the helmer took control and got things sorted out, but the results won’t inspire future investors, since the only thing that makes sense here is casting punk-rock icon Iggy Pop as the personification of Conscience. A cult cast should pique interest, though only die-hards will watch without hitting the fast-forward button. Even local distribution will be miniscule.
The plot recycles elements of every flea-bag circus pic of the past 90 years. Elliot the clown (Denis Lavant) is in a relationship with Loie Fuller wannabe Angele (Natacha Regnier; think Marilyn Munster styled as Stevie Nicks), leaving screechy gypsy Zohra (Beatrice Dalle) consumed with jealousy. Ringmaster Heroy (Tcheky Karyo), also desiring Angele, is embezzling circus money, but magician Zephyr (Bruno Putzulu) is on to him. Meanwhile, Elliot receives disapproving visits in black-and-white from Pop as his mute Conscience. Devoid of humor while convinced of its nutty Gallic cool, Blondy’s sophomore feature, shot on France’s northern coast, has unremarkable tech credits.