Compare Offers on Amazon
+ CDN$ 3.49 shipping
+ CDN$ 3.49 shipping
Irma Vep (Widescreen) (Version française) [Import]
Hong Kong action superstar Maggie Cheung (Police Story) plays herself in Olivier Assayas' brilliant satire of the movie industry.
In the tradition of films about filmmaking, Irma Vep takes its own special place among such films as Fellini's 8½. A has-been director decides to remake the silent French serial film Les Vampires starring a Hong Kong action film superstar. The production is falling behind schedule and its star, Maggie Cheung (who plays herself), finds herself an outsider with the film's crew save for a woman costumer (Nathalie Richard) who has a crush on her. Rene the director (Jean-Pierre Leaud) cast Maggie after viewing one of her many martial-arts fantasy films. Although he finds her perfect for the part of the jewel thief in Les Vampires, the rest of the crew cannot see the reasons for casting Maggie beyond her beauty and how she looks in her tight-fitting latex costume. Rene's vision is soon lost on everyone and he suffers a mental breakdown. The film is reassigned to Jose (Lou Castel), a seemingly more commanding director (although he takes the job because his welfare is about to run out), whose first decision is to fire Maggie. Irma Vep is presented as a comedy, but at its heart lies an examination of the art and craft of filmmaking. In a clever turn, Maggie creeps around her hotel getting into character, in essence remaking Irma Vep for real-life director Olivier Assayas. Assayas wrote the film in 10 days and shot the film in a month after meeting Maggie Cheung at a film festival--a fascinating case of life imitating art... or is it the other way around? --Shannon Gee
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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 (?Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
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... Read morePublished on March 7 2004 by Gregor von Kallahann
Maggie Cheung, as herself, comes to Paris to partake in a remake of Louis Feuillade's Les Vampires as Irma Vep. Read morePublished on Nov. 17 2002 by Swederunner
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. Read morePublished on Sept. 15 2002 by E. Mueller
I try to see every french film that gets released in the states, so I was really ready to like Irma Vep. Read morePublished on May 1 2002 by Erik Ketzan
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,... Read more
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. Read morePublished on Feb. 8 2002 by Amazon Customer
Mediocre entertainment, major navel-gazing , poor DVD package. The only part of this movie that grabbed my attention is when a Gen X French movie critic, hip and au courant,... Read morePublished on Jan. 15 2002
A very sweet, engaging, watchable movie. This is a portrait of what goes on behind the scenes during the making of a lower-budget film. It takes place in Paris. Read morePublished on Oct. 23 2001 by ADAM STANHOPE
Look for similar items by category
- Movies & TV > Action & Adventure > Hong Kong Action > Maggie Cheung
- Movies & TV > Art House & International > By Country > France > Comedy
- Movies & TV > Art House & International > By Genre > Comedy
- Movies & TV > Art House & International > By Genre > Drama
- Movies & TV > Art House & International > By Original Language > French
- Movies & TV > Comedy > Satire
- Movies & TV > Comedy > Urban
- Movies & TV > Drama
- Movies & TV > En français > Action, Aventure, Policier et Thriller > Films historiques
- Movies & TV > En français > Comédie > Comédies dramatiques
- Movies & TV > En français > Comédie > Comédies satiriques
- Movies & TV > En français > Drame > Drames historiques