Irma Vep

  • 1996
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Comedy, Drama

The comparison is inevitable: French director Olivier Assayas's wonderful, low-budget film about the making of a low-budget film is bound to be compared to Francois Truffaut's classic DAY FOR NIGHT, and Assayas's auspicious casting of nouvelle vague staple Jean-Pierre Leaud only encourages the comparison. But that's really where the similarities end. Assayas...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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The comparison is inevitable: French director Olivier Assayas's wonderful, low-budget film about the making of a low-budget film is bound to be compared to Francois Truffaut's classic DAY FOR NIGHT, and Assayas's auspicious casting of nouvelle vague staple

Jean-Pierre Leaud only encourages the comparison. But that's really where the similarities end. Assayas is less concerned with the exigencies of filmmaking than with basic human behavior: how a group of apparently similar people act when put in an extremely stressful situation. Leaud stars as Rene

Vidal, a once highly regarded filmmaker trying to save his career with a feature-length remake of Louis Feuillade's silent cult serial LES VAMPIRES. Rene has a second, ulterior motive: More than anything he wants to work with the dazzling Hong Kong superstar Maggie Cheung (appearing as herself),

whom he imagines in the central role of Irma Vep, prowling the Paris underworld dressed in a skin-tight latex cat suit and mask. But no one else on his crew seems to share his vision or his confidence, and the production and its director soon start to fall apart. Shot in Super 16mm, Assayas's film

has an off-the-cuff, almost improvisatory feel, but the touch of an exacting, vital filmmaker is obvious every step of the way. And Cheung, slinking around the corridors of her hotel in her sheath of shiny black latex to the dissonant chords of Sonic Youth, is an instant icon of everything

cool.

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  • Released: 1996
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: The comparison is inevitable: French director Olivier Assayas's wonderful, low-budget film about the making of a low-budget film is bound to be compared to Francois Truffaut's classic DAY FOR NIGHT, and Assayas's auspicious casting of nouvelle vague staple… (more)

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