TABLE OF CONTENTS

film

Irma Vep

FROM THE OUTSET, Olivier Assayas’ breakneck behind-the-camera satire Irma Vep immerses the viewer in the heady desperation of moviemaking. The first shot slowly pans over fresh-faced production assistants blithely hustling investors and creditors with phone solicitations worthy of seasoned bunco artists. Enter cheerfully self-effacing Hong Kong superstar Maggie Cheung as herself; she has arrived to play the title role of a latex-encased femme fatale in a projected remake of Louis Feuillade’s legendary proto-Surrealist 1916 serial Les vampires. This is ironic inasmuch as virtually everyone involved in the ill-fated undertaking descends on her in a frenzy of need, ego, and desire.

Although hand-held camera work gives Irma Vep the look of cinema verité, the film flows with the seamless speed and panache of Hong Kong fantasy flicks. Maggie Cheung is someone at home in both worlds: her work has

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