Irma Vep

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Irma Vep

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A contemporary French director (Jean-Pierre Léaud) takes on the assignment of remaking the 1915 French silent classic Les Vampires—with Hong Kong star Maggie Cheung (playing herself) as its famously mysterious master thief protagonist, Irma Vep—in this semi-satirical meditation from director Olivier Assayas. As with all films about filmmaking, Irma Vep indulges in a good deal of commentary about the art form, in this case about the gaps between cinematic past and present, the films of the East and West (specifically France), and the films of America and the rest of the world. Shot in a seemingly improvised, cinema-verité style, Irma Vep lets its cleverness remain implied rather than overstated, but as things unravel—as the audience begins to share Léaud's perception that the task of bringing the film together is impossible—it becomes clear how much thought is behind it. A funny and fascinatingly open-ended look at the state of the art, Irma Vep is well worth a look.

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