Cleveland International Film Festival } April 7 – April 18, 2021 } Playhouse Square

IRMA VEP

 

Year: 1996
Country: France
Run Time: 96 minutes

IRMA VEP

It's not often that we see the French poking fun at themselves, but that they certainly do in this marvelous farce, set behind the scenes of un bomb in the making. A bungling director gets the fashionable notion to cast Hong Kong superstar Maggie Cheung as one of the screen's great femmes fatales, arch-criminal Irma Vep, in a pretentious remake of the silent-era serial "Les Vampires." One of the many things he fails to take into account is that Cheung (portraying herself) doesn't know a word of French. With the assistance of a lovestruck lesbian wardrobe mistress, Cheung muddles through as best she can but ends up attempting a real burglary in her fetishistic rubber Catwoman outfit, and that's not the half of it. A bubbly melange of truth (filmmaker Assayas himself considered a "Les Vampires" remake - briefly) and worst-case scenario, IRMA VEP leaves us wondering: if the Disney execs see it, will they do one of their famous remakes with Whoopi Goldberg? In French with English subtitles.

- Charles Cassady

Screenplay
Olivier Assayas

Director
Olivier Assayas

Producer
Francoise Gugielmi, Georges Benayoun

Cinematography
Eric Gautier

Editing
Luc Barnier

Principal Cast
Maggie Cheung, Jean-Pierre Leaud, Nathalie Richard, Bulle Ogler

Print Source
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