5.0 out of 5 stars vampire
This is a film within a film setup. If you make it all the way through the film I think you will be pleasantly surprised. This movie is a clever disguise for a modernist tale. Critical in nature, this film takes sly pokes at the "cinema of violence" and the other greatest-common-denominator/sell-a-ticket movies that are so commonplace while serving up the arguments...
Published on Feb 8 2002 by blake_on_blake
3.0 out of 5 stars a movie buff's film, and truly multicultural
This movie has a casual, tossed-off feel, (it's rather different than Assayas' other pictures, which are hard to see in the U.S.) It's slyly funny about Parisians and their various neuroses and obsessions. Maggie Cheung is charming and, though she doesn't say much, she projects intelligence and good-natured resourcefulness. I disagree with the comments that this is...
Published on Dec 8 1999
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4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, fun, original, challenging, if not quite a masterpiece,
This review is from: Irma Vep (Essential Edition) [Import] (DVD)I feel downright churlish for not going completely crazy for this funny/sad look at movie-making -- specifically the rather absurd, doomed remaking of a real French classic, by an aging, out of style art-house director, starring Hong Kong action heroine Maggie Chung, who plays herself delightfully.
I enjoyed the film; its sort of a complex 1990s `Day for Night', with a paradoxical and sometimes confusing point of view about the nature of art and the state of film.
But I couldn't see it for the masterpiece a number of intelligent critics gave it credit for being. Jonathan Rosenbaum, the terrific critic from the Chicago Reader wrote a very long, in depth analysis that went right over my head, and then added insult to injury by implying that people who don't see the film as
a deep investigation of the evils of capitalism, and the meaning of ART are somehow shallow.
I'm also surprised by the number of people who take the ramblings of an obnoxious reporter in the film about the death of French art cinema as being the film's point of view on these issues. To me the film isn't taking sides, and seems to be gently satirizing, and yet embracing all of film.
Good natured, well acted, and occasionally brave (but also occasionally obscure) I quite enjoyed this and it did provoke some thinking. But I couldn't see it as the super deep film some did. For me, it was fun, but the ideas are far less deep or radical then critics seem to want to give them credit for being.
4.0 out of 5 stars Quelque chose de different,
This review is from: Irma Vep (Widescreen) (DVD)The French do self-reflexive cinema better than we do. This tale of a has-been director attempting a comeback with a re-make of a silent French serial (and using a non-French speaking real-life Maggie Cheung in the title role) is the ultimate exercise in cinematic intertextuality. But it's also a lot ofe fun and not--as one of the film's own characters grouses about the state of French cinema--just intellectual navel gazing. Not for everyone, of course, but for lovers of cinematic irony, it's hard to think of a more delightful feelm.
4.0 out of 5 stars Leaping latex lesbian vampyres, Rocky!,
This review is from: Irma Vep (Widescreen) (DVD)I truly fail to understand those who consider this a serious cinematic masterpiece. It pales in comparison, for instance, with other Maggie Cheung vehicles such as "In the Mood for Love" or "Song of the Exile". Indeed, one of the four rating stars is purely for the presence of Maggie as something at least close to her off screen persona (ok, I admit to a bit of a crush here :-).
On the other hand, it is not the abysmal drek others rate it. The plot is drolly amusing, along the lines of a mid-level American TV sitcom. And as one who has been in similar situations a few times, the depiction of Maggie's perplexity and detachment when thrust into making a film in Paris while speaking no French rings true.
The side-plot of Zoe, the costumier, who develops a crush on Maggie while fitting her with the black latex catsuit in a Paris sex shop, is amusing and well handled. Nathalie Richard is just right (and dang cute) as Zoe, a grown woman regressed to breathless teenage puppy love.
Maggie wanders through it all with gracious aplomb as everything and everybody is falling apart around her, intrigued by Zoe's interest though ultimately declining.
For those who haven't read the previous hundred reviews, a brief summary: Maggie Cheung, playing herself, arrives in Paris on a movie set in chaos. The director has chosen her to play the part of a cat burglar (Irma Vep) in a remake of a classic silent film, on the basis of obsessive viewing of Cheung's Hong Kong action films (I think it was Heroic Trio he was watching). [Real life director Arrayas was Cheung's boyfriend, later husband. Art imitating life, or vice versa?] Maggie is the calm center of a swirl of studio politics, backbiting and romantic advances (male and female). She goes to a late night party, and one night dreams (?) that she gets tricked up in her cat suit and burgles another room in her hotel. The director, dysfuntional at best, eventuallly has a breakdown. A new director decides he needs a French actress to play a classic French role, and Maggie accepts calmly(probably glad to get out of this mess). The last we hear is that she has cashed in her return ticket for a flight to New York to meet an American director.
2.0 out of 5 stars Hmm...,
This review is from: Irma Vep (Widescreen) (DVD)Seeing this movie has left me flabbergasted. I guess it's one of those either-you-love-it-or-hate-it movies. But let me be objective about this. It comes across as a masochistic satire on contemporary filmmaking, ridiculing on all points the folly of churning out meaningless movies filled with gore, violence, and Schwarzenegger. The storyline is simple: Director wants to shoot movie, crew is unstable, everything falls apart... and voila... the 5-minute ending redeems the 2-hour jargon that just took place before your eyes. But you can't beat having Maggie Cheung running around in that latex suit. Overall acting was precise, intense, and really, you can't ask for more. There is lot of handheld camera movement, so make sure to take your motion sickness pills. I sat watching this movie flicker in front of me. One hour later, I was still waiting for something good to happen. I am somewhat disappointed, I guess. I feel that a lot of time has been wasted on cinebabble. The ending's good, though. All in all, I'd rather have watched 20 minutes worth of the film than in its entirety.
4.0 out of 5 stars Notions in different directions...,
This review is from: Irma Vep (Widescreen) (DVD)Maggie Cheung, as herself, comes to Paris to partake in a remake of Louis Feuillade's Les Vampires as Irma Vep. However, when Maggie arrives three days late to the set she finds a disorganized film company trying to hold together a group of actors, a crew, and filmmakers who all have different agendas. Nevertheless, Maggie tries her hardest to fit in, even though she does not speak any French, and she tries to get a good grip of the character that she intends to cast. Meanwhile, the director is having problems keeping himself emotionally together and the film's future becomes jeopardized. Irma Vep is an interesting film that portraits thoughts that are not followed through with or that cannot be followed through with unless they are organized.
1.0 out of 5 stars The movie sucks the life out of you.,
By A Customer
This review is from: Irma Vep (Widescreen) (DVD)Unbearably pretentious rot. *Irma Vep* has nothing going for it, unless you consider the admittedly enjoyable spectacle of Maggie Cheung tromping around in skin-tight black latex. It's shot in the form of a "documentary" about a French re-do of the silent-era film serial *Les Vampires*. First of all, why would anyone want to remake *Les Vampires*? -- second of all, why would anyone want to watch a documentary about the making of it? It's unpalatable any way you look at it. Further, director Olivier Assayas embarrasses us by having Jean-Pierre Leaud ("Antoine Doinel" from Truffaut's *The 400 Blows*) attempt to speak English: the result is a mumbling disaster. It's as if Assayas is purposefully trying to denigrate the entire French cinematic tradition, from the silent classics (Arletty is invoked, of course; no lustre rubs off) to the New Wave. Meanwhile, Maggie Cheung looks mystified and somehwat irritated at the proceedings. The ending, by the way, is one of the worst I've ever seen.
4.0 out of 5 stars A great movie for the latex rubber enthusiast,
This review is from: Irma Vep (Widescreen) (DVD)Irma Vep is a bizarre story about a young Chinese actress who plays the title character in a remake of the 1915 silent French film Les Vampires. It later becomes obvious that Irma (starring Maggie Cheung) accepted the role because of her innermost desires and fetishes. In fact, most of the female roles are portrayed as either bi-sexual or lesbian. Although there is only brief nudity and no sex in this film, it still has a very erotic theme The movie has absolutely no decent ending; typical of French films, but I still recommend this for those with a flair for this fetish.
2.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly a waste of time, but not great either.,
This review is from: Irma Vep (Widescreen) (DVD)I try to see every french film that gets released in the states, so I was really ready to like Irma Vep. Unfortunately, I have to agree with many reviewers here that the movie just goes nowhere. There are some great moments here and there, but they just never seem to congeal into anything. It's only 96 minutes long, but seemed to last forever.
4.0 out of 5 stars How could I be silly enough to give such a great film 4 strs,
This review is from: Irma Vep (Widescreen) (DVD)Well, are we all sitty comfybold on our bottys? Then I'll begin.
Olivier Assayas is such a great director with such an astonishing body of work, that as good as Irma Vep is, it is not one of his best films.
It is good enough that you really should buy it, if you have not already. However, beyond that, in my typical whiny, frustration-driven way, I am going to spend the balance of this essay on things you (we) cannot yet buy in the hopes that one of the smaller and more rational DVD companies will rectify this. None of the following are even on video in France, at least based on the Amazon.com.fr website.
Une Nouvelle Vie is a brilliant character study. This film reconfirmed to me to the great and subtle talent of Judith Godreche, who has never let me down since. (Of course, I did not see the DiCaprio foolishness she was in because that would have broken the No-DiCaprios Allowed rule.) Ms. Godreche plays a complex and multi-layered character faced with a deepening mystery as she tries to find a father she has never known and is stalled by her half-sister and her father's lawyer who is apparently friendly, but clearly has some agenda of his own. The use of the camera is simply staggering. The camera circles the protagonists, alternating their points of view as the psychological games proceed. This same effect was so very irritating in Branagh's Frankenstein because there it served no purpose.
L'Eau Froide is a 60's period piece which introduced me to the work of Virginie Ledoyen. A simply plotted story of disaffected youth, which in less talented hands would have been cliched, is confidently and masterfully turned into something much more. This film also has what I feel to be the most effective (because it is so sparing) use of ambient period music I have ever experienced in a film - turning a great scene into an utterly ecstatic sequence. (The Big Chill indeed!!!!! Hmpf.)
Paris S'Eveille was my fortuitous introduction to, not only Ms. Godreche, but Mr. Assayas himself. The Walter Reade at Lincoln Center was running a series of films featuring Jean-Pierre Leaud. Having seen all of the more easily available films in the series, I chose I Hired a Contract Killer because it was directed by Aki Kaurismaki and Assayas' Paris S'Eveille because the music was written by John Cale. In fact, I had already had the bande sonore CD for a couple of years without knowing anything about the film. I'm sure I would have run into the work of Mr. Assayas eventually (probably, ironically, at The New York Film Festival where I saw Irma Vep) but this jump-started a cinematic passion that endures to this day.
Everything is relative. If you have not seen and do not own (anything worth seeing once is worth seeing twice - otherwise it is not worth seeing at all) Irma Vep then you owe it to yourself to make up for that loss. When you do, pay particular attention to Nathalie Richard. Even given the presence of Leaud and Maggie Cheung, Ms. Richard is the subtle heart of the film. I wish that more of her films were available here.
5.0 out of 5 stars vampire,
This review is from: Irma Vep (Widescreen) (DVD)This is a film within a film setup. If you make it all the way through the film I think you will be pleasantly surprised. This movie is a clever disguise for a modernist tale. Critical in nature, this film takes sly pokes at the "cinema of violence" and the other greatest-common-denominator/sell-a-ticket movies that are so commonplace while serving up the arguments against its own style.
Maggie Cheung is beautiful and presents the character of herself in many colors as we watch the interactions of her with the others on the movie set. I would recommend this to anyone with an open mind and a love of cinema. I thought it a charming film.
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Irma Vep (Widescreen) by Olivier Assayas (DVD - 2003)