Irma Vep

1996, Comedy/Drama, 1h 39m

46 Reviews 2,500+ Ratings

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critics consensus

Starring a bewitching Maggie Cheung, Irma Vep is an evocative and reflexive satire of the filmmaking process that is bursting at the seams with an affection for cinema. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Washed-up French director René Vidal (Jean-Pierre Léaud) hopes to turn his career around with an update of "Les Vampires," a silent-era masterpiece about about a notorious ring of thieves, led by crafty female crook Irma Vep. René brings in Chinese star Maggie Cheung (Maggie Cheung) to play Vep, but unexpected roadblocks arise on the set. Maggie doesn't know French, she's pursued by obsessive lesbian crew member Zoe (Nathalie Richard) and her character's criminal ways begin to rub off on her.

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Critic Reviews for Irma Vep

Audience Reviews for Irma Vep

  • Aug 08, 2022
    An interesting commentary on French film culture as it existed in the 90s and using Cheung, an obvious outsider, as the movie's central figure allows that commentary to be accessible to everybody.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 28, 2013
    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.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 08, 2012
    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.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Jul 01, 2010
    A movie about a failed movie that ends up being a failed movie...gee...what paradox. Save yourself an hour and thirty minutes and just skip to the 55 min mark which is the only worth while scene in the film; the lovely Maggie Cheung in a rainy, Blade Runner-esque rooftop scene. Other than her drop-dead gorgeousness and that brief moment of poetic cinematography, this is an extraordinary failure of "story within a story" storytelling...mostly because there is no story. There's no focus at all unless you count the bland, never ending, disoriented French/Chinese culture clash.
    Brett W Super Reviewer

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