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Irma Vep

Irma Vep (1996)



Average Rating: 7.2/10
Critic Reviews: 11
Fresh: 10 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 2,851

My Rating

Movie Info

Written and directed by Olivier Assayas, Irma Vep tells the story of has-been French filmmaker René Vidal (Jean-Pierre Léaud). In an attempt to reinvigorate his career, Vidal decides to remake Les Vampires, the classic silent serial featuring the adventures of jewel thief Irma Vep. Playing herself, actress Maggie Cheung is cast as the lead, joining Vidal on a chaotic set where he gets little respect from the rest of the cast and crew. Speaking no French, Cheung finds herself fending off the

Mar 31, 1998

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All Critics (37) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (32) | Rotten (3) | DVD (6)

Irma Vep's director, Olivier Assayas, evinces a love of the process that's nearly as palpable as Truffaut's.

March 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Slate
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Slender but appealing.

March 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A delightfully nonchalant movie, complete with some nice satirical barbs aimed at contemporary French film culture, and fine performances throughout.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Minor but witty.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As effortless as a shrug and boasts a film buff's dream cast.

February 14, 2001 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Scripted in ten days and shot in less than a month, the film unravels like a delirious piece of automatic writing, though in this case the sinister implications apply to a very different world -- our own.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Light, playful, and self-reflexive, Assayas' film is a mi or work but it's enjoyable and boasts a graceful performance from Maggie Cheung.

August 1, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

The post-modern compulsions on display here may bring movies together, but they also keep people apart.

January 7, 2009 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

A wonderful tribute to filmmaking that could only be made in France, it has delightful performances and a low-budget style -- like the film it parodies -- which work beautifully.

March 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

Amusing satire on French cinema and the insanity that is filmmaking.

October 14, 2005 Full Review Source:

We just love to make movies about movies to deconstruct them, to see what's behind them.

March 29, 2004 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Cheung, slinking around the corridors of her hotel in her sheath of shiny black latex to the dissonant chords of Sonic Youth, is an instant icon of everything cool.

July 30, 2003 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Like many French products, it's quirky but not all it's cracked up to be.

May 13, 2003
Hollywood Bitchslap

One of the few movies about making movies that captures the kinetic madness of the process. Maggie Cheung, playing herself, floats like a bemused Buddha through the maelstrom, offering a welcome sense of grace and normalcy.

April 30, 2003
Killer Movie Reviews

Love of film is the magical point of the film.

April 11, 2003 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A sometimes scathing, sometimes goodnatured satire of the French film industry.

March 17, 2002 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies
Goatdog's Movies

[It] seems to function as a cinematic state of affairs, examining the functions and motivations behind the movies we see.

March 5, 2002 Full Review Source:

Irma Vep is a film full of chaos, which at times entertains and at times makes you wonder what it's all about.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Audience Reviews for Irma Vep

Style over substance, but it works. And just as well, because there is not much of an actual storyline.
Actress Maggie travels to France to star in a remake of an old movie. The movie is about the making of that movie, which never really pans out. It's interesting and Maggie is well suited to the role. I also enjoyed her relationship with Zoe. The "completed" movie at the end is interesting too.
December 28, 2013

Super Reviewer

A director tries to remake Les Vampires.
I'm not really sure what I saw. On the one hand, I see some clever satire about French film here, especially with the interviewer complaining about intellectual film in an intellectual film, Rene's mumblingly intense focus on process, and the costume designer using a bondage mask. On the other hand, I think one would have to know the history behind Les Vampires in order to be in on the joke, and I'm not sure what to make of the romance between Maggie and Zoe. And what is going one with Maggie Cheung playing herself? Once again, I feel like there's a reason for this choice, but it isn't communicated with any clarity.
Overall, I left this film confused and not in a good way.
July 8, 2012
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Burned out new wave director, played by one-time Truffaut alter ego Jean-Pierre Léaud, decides to remake Louis Feuillade's french melodrama, Les Vampires, with the Hong Kong starlet Maggie Cheung as the black-latex-clad leader of a gang of jewel thieves.

Amusing behind-the-scenes look at the French film industry that's critical of how it's funded, how it looks upon its' cinematic legacy and how its' complancency, seriousness, self-importance, fighting and jealousies crush any real creativity. Maggie Cheung, who in the film can't understand the french language, is great to watch as she's allowed to be herself and put her own personality into the film, improvising and reacting with surprise and incomprehension to the insanity around her.
August 20, 2008
El Hombre Invisible

Super Reviewer

Shades of the later Tristram Shandy and earlier Truffaut films, we have the story of a film within a film and all the drama that occurs outside of where the camera is shooting. While good at times, it often feels lost.
June 28, 2013
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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