Irma Vep & Les Vampires Double Bill

NR Directed by Olivier Assayas. Starring Nathalie Richard, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Maggie Cheung.

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Tue., May 14, 2002

Frenchman Louis Feuillade's popular silent movie serial of 1915, Les Vampires, inspires and informs countryman Olivier Assayas' 1996 movie Irma Vep, which stars the ever-spectacular Hong Kong actress Maggie Cheung in her first international role. In a lovely bit of double-billing, an enlightening episode of Feuillade's epic 10-part serial about master criminals will be shown before the screening of Irma Vep. Cheung stars in Assayas' film as a reincarnation of Les Vampires' Irma Vep (an anagram of "vampire"). When a haunted film director (the perfectly cast Léaud) and his crew begin to bicker, leading lady Cheung is cast adrift with no one to lean on but the lesbian wardrobe mistress and the titillation of a furtive jewel raid. Irma Vep is a hynotic blend of suspense, sexual tension, and satiric film criticism.

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Irma Vep & Les Vampires Double Bill, Olivier Assayas, Nathalie Richard, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Maggie Cheung

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