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Irma Vep [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

4.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

Price: £17.29
Only 6 left in stock - order soon.
Dispatched from and sold by RAREWAVES USA.
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Region 1 encoding. (This DVD will not play on most DVD players sold in the UK [Region 2]. This item requires a region specific or multi-region DVD player and compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
Note: you may purchase only one copy of this product. New Region 1 DVDs are dispatched from the USA or Canada and you may be required to pay import duties and taxes on them (click here for details) Please expect a delivery time of 5-7 days.
£17.29 Only 6 left in stock - order soon. Dispatched from and sold by RAREWAVES USA.

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Product details

  • Language: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001G0LC1E
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 272,326 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
Real score: 4 stars. 4.5 but can't put that in the scoring system
Adjusted for Amazon reviewers getting it wrong: 5 stars

The one star review for this film reads: "A disappointing film: the parts in English, of which there are a lot, are in such broken English that, at times, to be unintellible"

I think that says it all.

I'm a sucker for meta-fiction. I'm also a sucker for films that are simply cool, that have a lot of style even if they lack substance. Therefore, even if Irma Vep was pretentious garbage, I'd probably still rate it quite highly, because it has style in spades. However, it isn't pretentious in the slightest. It manages to pull off being thought provoking and artistically challenging without being crass or blunt or obvious.

Firstly, a little more on the style. It cuts together a film about the filming of a remake of Les Vampires, scenes from Les Vampires (some with narration, some silent, some with background music), scenes from the remade Les Vampires, and scenes from other films that the cast and crew of the fictional film have been involved in. I think that's all the layers of reality we get, although I may have missed some. There are also scenes in which Maggie Cheung dresses up like her character and goes out spying on other guests in the hotel where she is staying, effectively becoming Irma Vep, the cat-burglar/voyeuristic sexual deviant from the original film. Things are such a jumble that at times it is hard to figure out what is going on, but only ever through the intentions of the director, never as an accidental by-product of poor directing.
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Format: DVD
Irma Vep is a 16mm movie about making a movie, like its cumbersome predecessors, “8½” by 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 not long after becomes, due to her grace and her attitude to compare herself with others, the reference point to explore the inmost and close relationships between the prime actress and the film director, as well as between the same actress and an eccentric costumier and the whole cast of the film.
Jean-Pierre Léaud, Truffaut's leading star, plays the director René Vidal, 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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