1991-2000ComedyDramaFranceOlivier Assayas

Olivier Assayas – Irma Vep (1996) (HD)

One of the most striking and critically acclaimed French films of the 1990s, Irma Vep offers a witty and insightful comment on film-making in that decade. The film demonstrates not just the precarious nature of an industry which is constantly constrained by time and money, and its susceptibility to personal whims and prejudices, but also provides an eye-opening résumé of the whole film making process. The film was directed by Olivier Assayas, a one-time critic who has since gained a reputation as one of France’s most promising filmmakers.

The naturalistic dialogue and fluid camerawork create the impression of a fly-on-the-wall documentary and at some points it is hard to believe the film was scripted at all. What makes the film entertaining is its raw dark comedy, which is often used to the point of self-mockery – for example, the sequence where Maggie Cheung argues the case for French cinema when her French-speaking colleagues and journalists are doing their utmost to rubbish it. At first glance, Cheung would appear to be a bizarre choice to take the lead in this low-budget French film, but it is the fact that she is so evidently out of place which makes the film work as well as it does. Like the audience watching the film, she is the outsider intruding on a closeted world of artistic sensibilities and petty behind-the-scenes squabbles.

One thing which the film conveys well is the conflict between the notion of an artistic concept, held in the mind of the director, and the practicalities of everyday life which prevent it from being realised. The failure of the faded director Vidal (played to the point of tragic poignancy by a magnificent Jean-Pierre Léaud) stems mainly from the cynicism of the people he has to work with rather than any fault in his artistic processes. This is made evident in the stunning last few minutes of the film, when the rushes of Vidal’s aborted film flash before our eyes in a maelstrom of artistic brilliance.


Container:  	Matroska
Runtime: 	1 h 38 min
Size: 	12.6 GiB
Codec: 	x264
Resolution: 	1792x1080 
Aspect ratio:  	5:3
Frame rate: 	23.976 fps
Bit rate: 	17.1 Mb/s
BPP: 	0.368
#1:  	French 2.0ch AC-3 @ 448 kb/s (French Stereo)
#2:  	English 2.0ch AC-3 @ 320 kb/s (English (commentary))


Language(s):French, English
Subtitles:English (PGS for French)

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