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DVD of the Day #272 - Irma Vep

This is a movie I’ve spent years considering buying. However beign a French Art Film coupled with a price tag of like $30, I held off, especially sicne I’ve never found anyone that has ever seen this film. So when I joined Netflix, this was a definite grab for me.

This film is both a satire on intellectualism and eltist films while also being one. At points the movie was slow and a bit boring, but unlike most films of this nature that are just boring, this is doing it to make a point.

The film is about a once great director who is now a broken down mess of a man and his attempt to remake the silent classic Les Vampires which is a seven hour collection of short films about a nefarious spy organization called The Vampires. Instead of choosing a frenchwoman to play the lead character of Irma Vep, he chooses British Citizen and Hong Kong film icon Maggie Cheung to play the laytex catsuit weaing lady herself(which is the main reason i wanted to see this). Maggie however, doesn’t speak a word of French, which is the first of many problmes this production will encounter. An interesting note is the real director of this film ends up marrying Maggie a few years after making this and they ended up getting divorced while making a film together too. Oops.

As the film goes on disasters occurs. These are manily political and cliquish infighting, which is meant to highlight the problem with the French movie industry of this era and why nothing of merit was coming out at this time. Everyone cared about themselves and were making the films for themselves, rather than for an audience or for the love of making a film. As such, everyone’s vision eroded everyone else’s as there was no real cohesion. It’s nice to see how much the French fi;m industry has changed in the past decade because really, France has just been hitting it out of the ball pack as of late with the horror and mystery films, ranging from Frontier(s) to Roman De Gare.

This isn’t a laugh out loud film. The humour is very French, and as such it is very dry and subtle. Honestly, fi you didn’t know this was a satire, you might think it was a drama. One of my favorite bits is where Maggie, in an attempt to get into her role, wears the catsuit late at night and stars stealing ala a cat burglar. Very funny and cute.

Overall, the film was good for what it was, but it did feel a little long and dull at times. I wouldn’t buy it and I don’t need to see it again, but I’m glad I finally got to see this film after five years of wanting to.

Is It Worth Keeping? No.
Rating: 5/10

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