Some films are meant to be felt, not understood. Which could explain Isabella Rossellini's unforgettable cameo (Lynch much?). There's no central mystery in IRMA VEP. The plot is linear. But the film possesses a peculiar, elusive quality. Example: Maggie Cheung playing Maggie Cheung. Does she like boys or girls? Not sure. Her opinion of people or things? Depends. Maggie exists as a cypher. A blank canvas. An "actor".
I like the clever post-modern take on 90's French cinema, but there's also a core of naturalism in this film which balances the tendency it might otherwise have had to cave in on itself. Even if you don't get a single one of the references you can happily cringe along with Maggie C as a convincingly polite fish-out-of-water.
I loved discovering the behind the scenes of a French film through the eyes of the beautiful and mysterious Maggie Cheung. You witness how big egos and big characters are fighting rather than teaming up for art and perfection. I also really appreciated the movements of the camera during the movie, it was delicate and graceful, a bit like Feuillade's Irma Vep.
Incredible, slightly sentimental and mellow, even dreamy exploration of the French cinema, our human interactions and those weird moments of lack of understanding, miscommunication - on the level of language, but also emotional and cultural. Excellent cast and fantastic performances. Oh, I almost forgot the great and moody Parisian location, and what an ending - truly mesmerising... A very memorable experience!
Experimental drama that playfully weaves in and out of film and film world. Maggie Cheung delightfully plays herself (sometimes easier said than done) and is completely adorable as she bumps and slinks around the set filled with over the top gallic film industry types.
A wonderful film about the madness of movies, being lost in a foreign land, and, well, Maggie Cheung in a supertight latex suit. This is a funny, strange, delight from writer-director Olivier Assayas, helped by the wonderful central performance from Cheung as she tries to hide her bemusement and professionally get on with the job she was given.
I turned seventeen in 1996. I cared far more about movies, books, and music than I did anything else. Mine was not only the breed of cinephilia for which IRMA VEP was made, it was also kinda the breed that actually made it. VEP does something that continues to characterize an Assayas: it does not 'cleverly' collapse high and low, rather it engages a dialogue between the popular and the rarefied central to art itself.