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French filmmaker René Vidal was once a renowned director, but most see his career on a quick downward slide based on his last several films. In Paris, he is just starting to film his latest movie, a remake of Les vampires (1915), and has hired Hong Kong based Chinese actress Maggie Cheung as the title lead, "Irma Vep" (an anagram for "vampire"), despite she knowing no French and she not being an obvious choice to most. Maggie has never worked with Vidal before and knows little about his movies, but many of his primarily French crew are part of his regular stable. As such, Maggie may become isolated among the cast and crew, unless there are those who bring her into their English conversations, they who may have somewhat ulterior motives in doing so. There are also factions within the cast and crew, who, based on their history, have a poisoned sense of what is going on. With Vidal, he is dealing with some personal issues while he tries to regain his film making form. He may transfer his... Written by
After René says, "respect the silence" to Maggie, he speaks to a woman and takes a drink from a big plastic Coke bottle. He screws the cap on, then hands her the bottle. She turns around, and the cap is missing. See more »
A Chinese movie actress (Maggie Cheung as herself), in France to star in a remake of "Les Vampires", finds petty intrigues and clashing egos on the set.
The idea for the film was born out of an attempted collaboration between Assayas, Claire Denis, and Atom Egoyan, who wanted to experiment with the situation of a foreigner in Paris. In the 1915 original serial, written and directed by Louis Feuillade, Irma Vep was played by French silent film actress Musidora (18891957). Much of the film depicts set-related incidents that echo scenes in Truffaut's "La nuit americaine", to which Irma Vep owes a large thematic debt. However, Assayas has publicly stated that although he considers "La nuit americaine" a great film, it is more about the fantasy of filmmaking than the reality. Assayas credits Rainer Werner Fassbinder's "Beware of a Holy Whore" as a much greater inspiration.
I love that Atom Egoyan was involved in some way. I must have missed him on the crew list, unless he dropped out before the final version got started. This film works on many levels, because it features a remake of "The Vampires", which strikes me as a brilliant idea. It then takes that and makes it a film about making such a film, and generally speaking I think those sort of films work well. Then it goes to the third level and has Maggie Cheung play herself (sort of), almost making it sort of a pseudo-documentary...
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