Maggie Cheung, one of the most celebrated contemporary Asian film stars (she has seventy films to her name), plays herself in this strikingly light-hearted film by Olivier Assayas. Cheung has come to Paris to play Irma Vep in a remake of the famous Les Vampires series that Louis Feuillade directed in 1915/16. She doesn't speak a word of French, so everyone who wants to communicate with her has to talk - broken - English; especially René Vidal (Jean-Pierre Léaud), the once-celebrated director of the film who sees in her the unique contemporary personification of the lady/jewel-thief Irma Vep. On the chaotic set, where no one seems to take the director very seriously, Cheung meets the dresser Zoé, a lesbian and alleged heroin dealer who is soon mad about the star. After the screening of several disastrous rushes it looks as if the prject is doomed.Irma Vep is funny and shows insight in human relationships while playing with a variety of film clichés. The film script was written in ten days, the film was shot in a month. This results in a makeshift documentary-like approach. The film is interwoven with shots from Feuillade's film series and with black & white footage from the film-in-the-film.

Filmmaker
Olivier Assayas
Premiere
-
Country
France
Year
1996
Medium
35mm
Length
96’
Language
French
Producer
Dacia Films, IMA Films
Sales
Pyramide International
Writer
Olivier Assayas
Cast
Bulle Ogier, Maggie Cheung