Irma Vep  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Irma Vep is a 1996 film directed by the French director Olivier Assayas, starring Hong Kong actress Maggie Cheung (playing herself) in a story about the disasters that ensue as a middle-aged French film director (played by Jean-Pierre Léaud) attempts to remake Louis Feuillade's classic silent serial Les vampires. Taking place as it does largely through the eyes of a foreigner (Cheung), it also a meditation upon the then-current state of the French film industry.

Cheung is employed to play the film-within-the-film's heroine, Irma Vep, a burglar, who spends most of the film dressed in a tight, black, latex rubber catsuit, defending her director's odd choices to hostile crew members and journalists. As the film progresses, the plot mirrors the disorientation felt by the film's director. Cheung the character is in many ways seen by other characters as an exotic sex object dressed in a latex catsuit; both the director and Cheung's costume designer Zoe (Nathalie Richard) have crushes on her.

In the 1915 original serial, written and directed by Louis Feuillade, Irma Vep was played by French silent film actress Musidora (1889-1957). Much of the film depicts set-related incidents that echo scenes in Truffaut's La Nuit americaine (English title: Day for night), to which Irma Vep owes a large thematic debt.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Irma Vep" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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