Irma Vep

irmavep

You’d want to marry Maggie Cheung too if she lit up your film like she does director Olivier Assayas’ 1996 valentine to moviemaking and breezy satire thereof. Cheung plays her disarming self, freshly arrived in Paris from Hong Kong at the request of a snappish, out-to-pasture French New Wave director (Jean-Pierre Léaud) who’s remaking the 1915 Louis Feuillade silent classic Les Vampires. She’s to lead a clan of cat burglars, looking at least slinky enough in her latex catsuit to inspire a crush from the costume mistress (Nathalie Richard, also terrific). And that’s the least of their increasingly hapless production’s problems. Zeitgeist’s Essential Edition DVD looks great and makes good with the special features, whose telling highlight has to be the silent, black-and-white rushes of Cheung prowling around on Parisian rooftops. No, her marriage to Assayas didn’t last, but this coolly charming mélange of reality, fantasy, dream and movie does endure. 

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