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Irma Vep [DVD] [1996] [US Import] [NTSC]

Maggie Cheung , Jean-Pierre Léaud , Olivier Assayas    DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: £27.64
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Irma Vep [DVD] [1996] [US Import] [NTSC] + Clean [2004] [DVD] + Boarding Gate [DVD] [2007] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Product details

  • Actors: Maggie Cheung, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Nathalie Richard, Antoine Basler, Nathalie Boutefeu
  • Directors: Olivier Assayas
  • Format: Widescreen, Dolby, NTSC, Letterboxed, Subtitled
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Fox Lorber
  • DVD Release Date: 31 Mar 1998
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 1572522380
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 232,379 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Highly acclaimed French art film from director Olivier Assayas (Une Nouvelle Vie; Clean), about a Chinese movie actress (Maggie Cheung - Police Story; Clean; Hero) playing herself, who (unable to speak French) arrives in France to star in faded director Henri Vidal's (Jean-Pierre Leaud - Stolen Kisses; Last Tango in Paris; Day for Night; The Pornographer) remake of the classic silent serial "Les Vampires". Unfortunately she finds herself stuck in the middle of a stressful situation when the production begins to fall apart, Zoe, the wardrobe mistress has a crush on her, she has an argument with a Parisian journalist who trashes all French films and praises John Woo and Arnold Schwarzenegger movies and then to make matters even worse, Vidal suffers a nervous breakdown. French Language with English subtitles. NTSC/Colour/1:66:1 Letterbox/96 mins.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By K. Gordon TOP 500 REVIEWER
I feel downright churlish for not going completely crazy for this funny/sad look at movie-making -- specifically the rather absurd, doomed remaking of a real French classic, by an aging, out of style art-house director, starring Hong Kong action heroine Maggie Chung, who plays herself delightfully.

I enjoyed the film; its sort of a complex 1990s `Day for Night', with a paradoxical and sometimes confusing point of view about the nature of art and the state of film.

But I couldn't see it for the masterpiece a number of intelligent critics gave it credit for being. Jonathan Rosenbaum, the terrific critic from the Chicago Reader wrote a very long, in depth analysis that went right over my head, and then added insult to injury by implying that people who don't see the film as
a deep investigation of the evils of capitalism, and the meaning of ART are somehow shallow.

I'm also surprised by the number of people who take the ramblings of an obnoxious reporter in the film about the death of French art cinema as being the film's point of view on these issues. To me the film isn't taking sides, and seems to be gently satirizing, and yet embracing all of film.

Good natured, well acted, and brave (but also occasionally obscure) I quite enjoyed this and it did provoke some thinking. But I couldn't see it as the super deep film some did. For me, it was fun romp, but the ideas are less deep or radical then critics seem to want to give them credit for being.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
What the world needs is a movie about producing a book. You know, the creative angst of the author as he tries to remember when to use "which" and when to use "that," the nasty arguments over choosing a typeface, the dust jacket tantrums about artistic integrity if both boobs are shown or just one, the cattiness of the editors and, perhaps most insightful, whether the proofreading will continue to be the night guard's responsibility during his dinner break or whether the delivery boy from the next door deli should be given a crack at it.

Until that movie is made, Irma Vep will have to do. Please note that elements of the plot are discussed but there are absolutely no spoilers here or in the movie. Irma Vep is a movie about making a movie and it's stuffed with angst, pettiness, tantrums, ego and confusion. Taken on one of its own terms -- is it any good just as a movie -- the answer in my opinion is a loud "yes." Forget all the inside cineaste stuff (it is French, after all) and you may find that Irma Vep is funny, not just clever. It's good-natured with a friendly performance by Hong Kong kung fu heroine Maggie Cheung playing herself. Most of all, it is so eccentric a movie I seldom could stop smiling.

Rene Vidal (Jean-Pierre Leaud), an aging New Wave director now well past his sell-by date, is planning a comeback. He'll re-make a long, long and long ago silent movie called Les Vampires, a movie about a gang of criminals who prowl and stalk. One them, in a skin-tight black body suit and black mask, is named Irma Vep. She will be Vidal's inspiration. He has just the star in mind to play Irma...Maggie Cheung. Maggie, who doesn't speak French, shows up in Paris ready to work. Cast and crew snipe and argue in many mini-dramas. Vidal collapses.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Irma Vep should be considered a little jewel 21 April 2009
Irma Vep is a 16mm movie about making a movie, like its cumbersome predecessors, 8½. of Fellini and La nuit américaine by Truffaut.
But against the above mentioned movies, it is self-sufficient simple, exploding the script in few main outlines.
Irma Vep should be considered a little jewel and a truth film about cinema.
A disorientated Hong Kong actress (Maggie Cheung), recruited to play the main role in a new edition of a 20's Louis Feuillade's mute film, faces the chaos of a French film production and becomes not long after, due to her grace and her attitude to compare herself with others, the hinge around are explored the inmost and close relationships between the prime actress and the film director, an eccentric costumier and the whole film cast.
The director, René Vidal, is played by Jean-Pierre Léaud, Truffaut's leading star, as an explicit reference to Nouvelle Vague.
Irma Vep is also a token excursion into cinema that starts with the pioneeristic and evocative mute movies; it looks at the the emerging Asiatic scenario as new source of inspiration for the west school; it quotes affectionately the outmoded social inspired movies; it settles accounts with the special effects and the muscle structure of American new style of making films, against the serious and intellectual French one, toughly in search of new evolutions; it ends with an unexpected brainwave film solution, like an homage to the experimental cinema, a ransom for the poor Vidal and perhaps a possible way of innovation for the French old-style art of cinema.
Sonic Youth's music is the sound-track for the topic upsetting scene in which Maggie transforms herself into a Vampire.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Too glad... 11 Sep 2008
By coma
.. this strange little piece of french cinema is finally available again. And at a very reasonable price. The only downer is, that you cannot turn off the subtitles. Quite disturbing at times, because they are not very decent.
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