french films > Irma Vep

Irma Vep

Irma Vep

Review score: * * * * *

cast: Maggie Cheung, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Nathalie Richard,.......

year: 1996

colour: yes

certificate: 15

director: Olivier Assayas

runtime: 98

Drama/ fantasy Maggie Cheung (as herself), Hong Kong star and Assayas partner in life, arrives in Paris to play in Irma Vep, and anagram for Vampires, a French silent serie by Feuillade. She does not speak French and everybody is trying to communicate with their poor English language. The director is obsessed by the original version and close to a nervous breakdown. Assayas portrays a picture of the world of cinema without complaisance.
Cheung is employed to play the film-within-the-film's heroine, Irma Vep (an anagram for vampire), a burglar, who spends most of the film dressed in a tight, black, latex rubber catsuit, defending her director's odd choices to hostile crew members and journalists. As the film progresses, the plot mirrors the disorientation felt by the film's director. Cheung the character is in many ways seen by other characters as an exotic sex object dressed in a latex catsuit; both the director and Cheung's costume designer Zoe (Nathalie Richard) have crushes on her.

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