Irma Vep. 1996. France. Written and directed by Olivier Assayas. With Maggie Cheung, Jean-Pierre Leaud, Nathalie Richard, Lou Castel. 35mm. In French, English; English subtitles. 97 min.
New Wave ham director Leaud enlists Hong Kong action-movie star Cheung to salvage his doomed remake of Louis Feuillade’s silent-era Les Vampires. Squeezing into a black latex bondage suit, Cheung becomes vampish jewel thief Irma Vep and immediately holds the film crew in thrall. With the antic mayhem of a surrealist comedy and the knowing charms of René Clair and Francois Truffaut, Olivier Assayas celebrates a lost era of moviemaking while also flouting its genre conventions.