Film is the most haunted form of art; The ghosts of past films and actors, like thought and imagination, each inform a new film, and sometimes the remake of a film or series can be like exorcism, a way to deal with this exorcism and start again. HBO recently premiered its new miniseries Irma Vape (which premiered at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival) to unanimous praise from critics.
David Cote of The A.V. Club writes: This work is a masterful examination of the tools of visual expression. It's probably the most complex series that HBO has made to date." Of course, this praise is more than expected, considering HBO's long pedigree of various and excellent miniseries, but in a strange way, this work deserves such praise. It's also doubly strange because "Irma Vape" (a word created by swapping out the word Vampire) is a remake of the director's own film of the same name, a remake of the 1915 silent series Vampires.
That vampire onion here has multiple layers of meta-film magic, and the new Irma Vape has brilliant dialogue that has more than 100 years of cinema in it. That's only right, because writer-director Olivier Assayas used to be a critic for the acclaimed French film magazine Caille de Cinema, so much of his filmmaking rsum is conducting a dialogue with the film itself. Another critic of the "Caye de Cinema" who became a filmmaker is none other than the legendary Jean-Luc Godard, who once said: "To criticize a film, you have to make another film." And that seems to be what Assayas is doing: turning his film review into an actual film.
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Irma Vape may be on TV now, but it has a long history. The seed of this film was planted by what may be the greatest serial film ever made, none other than Les Vampires, which helped inspire the medium for television; This seed blossomed in the 1990s, creating a full-fledged international masterpiece, Assayas' Irma Vape. A flower that has now been picked and fixed its place in the television pot, with a return to the series. We take a look at the strange history of the extraordinary Irma Vape, a kind of cinematic ghost history in its own right.
French director Louis Fouad, with a filmmaking career that lasted less than 20 years, directed about 700 films between 1907 and 1924 (most of which were short films). They were). In the early years of cinema, a wild western art with hardly any real rules, silent serials became popular. Film studios saw the lucrative opportunity to make multiple parts of a film with the same features after the success of the 1912 two-reel What Ever Happened to Mary? This event predated the serial dramas on radio programs of the 1920s, and probably long before television; In a way, serialized movies begat the episodic television series as we know it.
There was a sudden frenzy with serialized movies, with some beloved works like The Pauline Perils that He came to the cinema once every two weeks. Fouyad also entered the game of serials with a film called "Boot de Zan", which was one of his first productions, which included 60 short films about a naughty little boy, which was shown between 1912 and 1916. His first masterpiece was the series "Phantomas" in 1912, which paved the way for mystery thrillers, spy genre and even superhero movies. In 1915, Fouyad's filmmaking career was to be interrupted by serving in World War I, but the director survived a heart attack. While convalescing, he produced what is widely regarded as his best-known masterpiece, The Vampires.
With World War I raging and notorious anarchist groups such as Bono's gang roaming the streets. and the kingdoms of Europe, which were rapidly changing, the show "vampires" from a society that was out of control, sat in the hearts of the audience, and groups of people went to see the series. They loved these strange and unpredictable serials about the twisted criminal underworld of vampires and how they sank their bloody claws into the fabric of French identity and existence; They loved watching the journalists and detectives chasing them and the cat and mouse chase after another. They are unusual, sometimes dreamy in nature Khyali liked some of the sequences, something that began with several famous surrealist artists of the time, perhaps the most important of which was Mozidora, who was loved by many.
Mozidora is Irma Wepp
Jean Roque changed his name to Mozidora as a child, preferring the name It meant the gift of the goddess of art, and that's exactly what she was. Mozidora was one of the leading vamps, a term for the primitive type of femme fatale who chews men up and spits them out of their mouths, from Rudyard Kipling's poem Vampires. Along with Tide Barre, another leading actress of the 1910s, Mozidura was truly a magical vamp, with whom Fouyad collaborated many times after the "Vampires" series (Mozidora also wrote and directed her own films). He was so charming that he mesmerized you with his eyes, and when the police banned the show "Vampires" for depicting a crime, he single-handedly convinced the chief of police to reverse his decision after Fouyad and Gomon's production studio had previously They had tried and failed.
Mozidora was a major reason why "Vampires" was a success, and her character, Irma Vapp, became the name of the films that followed. His honest, crazy, nervous, strange and emotional acting is a cinematic indicator. However, Fouad has the merit of having most of the credit of this work; He created a 10-part, eight-hour masterpiece that the great Jonathan Rosenbaum called one of the greatest cinematic pleasures. Fouyad's techniques, by shooting long interior shots in a completely static manner against the fast-paced movement of his exterior sequences, minimal use of dialogue, dreamy editing and the absence of montage, and what the French can perhaps only take for granted as a "I don't know what," all together. combine to deliver a flawless performance.
While this film has undoubtedly influenced French cinema for nearly a century, it is often a work that has not been seen in America and is hard to find. It's difficult (at least until the ever-wonderful Criterion Collection steps in). What if the history of American cinema had Fouad instead of Griffiths.
Irma Wop is Maggie Chung
In 1996, director Olivier Assayas made "Irma Vape" starring Meg Changi as herself, an actress hired to play the lead role in the "Vampires" remake. The film shows Chang caught in a cinematic circus: actors are having personal crises, technicians want to sleep with him, the project is running out of money, and the director (played by legendary French actor Jean-Pierre Lo) has done) is facing a psychological crisis. Like many of Assayas's works, the film is adapted to movement, after all, the word "Movies" comes from the word "Movement" and how does a film have meaning without it? But despite all this, the camera makes a leap into the larger opportunities within the film, and Assayas embraces it with open arms. The dinner scenes and the hotel sequences that show themselves, Chang is often in the role of a bewildered and confused audience. This film was a unique opportunity for Assayas to express his opinion about the cinema industry, using one of the most famous French films of all time to tell the story of globalization, art and the power of acting.
The element of being global. Always a very strong sign of a satirical film, there is a constant presence in Irma Wepp, a Hong Kong star in a French film, with English dialogue and a range of European nationalities flashing around the screen. The rock band Sonic Youth makes a brief appearance on the soundtrack, French singer Serge Gansbourg is another, and Malian guitarist Ali Farka Toure is another. Assayas is very interested in the current state of French cinema (something that seems to be represented by the series "Vampires" itself) and the impact of globalization on it. Journalists discuss John Woo films and Hollywood blockbusters while members of the film industry lament their current state.
Olivier Assayas and Maggie Chang
Chang is amazing as always and Leo is fun. These on-set interactions are delightful, and recreating several scenes from "Vampires" gives Assayas the aforementioned opportunity to review the film. By directing his own version of "Vampires" (or by having his actors do so), he is able to comment on the decision-making and analysis of each gesture and behavior, and to reveal those hidden emotions and meanings behind the film. . By choosing the iconic and enduring series "Vampires", to In a way, it can be said that he is dealing with French cinema itself. This metatextual interweaving leads to one of the most enchanting endings in the history of cinema.
"Irma Vep" was a turning point in Assayas and Chang's career; The film was considered a huge achievement for Assayas, paving the way for his future, on the one hand, it took Chang out of Hong Kong for the first time and made him an international star, and this collaboration led to the two getting married again. They divorced each other in 2001, but made another film together, the international masterpiece Tamiz (2004), for which Chang won the best actress award at the Cannes Film Festival; This film became his last major role before his mysterious retirement. In an interview with Indie Wire, Assayas said: "Maggie disappeared from my life and disappeared from the cinema, and the original idea of returning to "Irma Vape" was to revive those memories. "Instead of a remake, a reboot, or whatever, I'm trying to come to terms with my memories because the original movie changed my life, and it would feel like a betrayal if I didn't address that personal, even intrinsic, part of it." p>
Olivier Assayas and Irma Wepp
Assayas own work and revived "Irma Vep". With his new series, which is produced by A24 and HBO, Assayas has had a reunion with the ghosts of the past 26 years, be it 1915 or 1996, be it the ghosts of France or the ghosts of Maggie or the ghosts of cinema. In an interview with IndieWire, he adds:It's a funny thing that the story itself is a ghost story. It is about memory and time, about modern society and modern filmmaking. There are several serious and reflective elements in the story, and you need to take a softer tone out of them. This is easier and helps you to advance your thoughts. In another interview with Some Came Running, Assayas says that the original and old "Irma Vape" is like a snapshot of the contradictions of French filmmaking at the time, and as a result, the new "Irma Vape" looks like an iPhone selfie of the current state of cinema. Is. Rather cleverly, this work is not just a remake that looks at the past, but a work that uses the past as a launching pad to invoke the present, and provides certain assumptions for the film, which with each repetition and retelling (Vampires In 1915, Irma Wepp (1996 and 2022) gives us an eventful account of what has changed.
Assayas says in an interview with Decider: "I think everything is different. The digital migration of cinema and television has completely changed, we are all on the Internet now, using social networks. He adds: "The thing is, cinema is changing along with the world". There is no end to the cinema. What we're trying to capture with this, in its full version, is the nature of that change that's happening right now. It is always present until the last moment.
In this way, the new "Irma Vape" is not only full of postmodern self-reference, but also full of persistent awareness of contemporary reality. At a press conference near the premiere of the series, the actress, who is now playing Irma Wepp, comments on questions about her big superhero movie and her future in some kind of cinematic universe, and she is definitely not excited about them: "This is what people are asking for right now. The director of her program tells her: "A mouth-watering, feminist, and a film whose superhero is an authentic woman." On the other hand, the reporters ask him about populism and gender equality and the future of Europe, all of which the new "Irma Wepp" has included in her report on the state of cinema and in her own style.
Irma Wepp Alicia Vikander is
Alicia Vikander, though an international star, has appeared as the new Irma, who is very different from Chung's character (who will be referred to in an unusual way in the series). Appearing as Meera Harberg, she is in the midst of tabloid gossip and the massive success of her sci-fi action blockbuster. Vikander's character is outspoken, brash, and sometimes brash.
His cold-blooded personal assistant, flipping through Gilles Deleuze, is the seductively funny Regina (played wonderfully by the fashion model). Don Ross) and between these two, these young women, there is enough to say over cheeseburgers. This film is a portrait of a generation, just like 1996's Irma Vape, which provided a general picture of what it meant to be young, cool, and French, or to work in the film industry at that time. (who is also a director) is unquestionably wonderful as a director who is both deranged and insane, with a nervous breakdown that is somehow both silly and It is scary and scary. Vikander is just as good as Chung, gaining a mysterious power when she dons Irma Wepp's cat costume, a black, stealthy, clingy fabric that the queen of crime sometimes wears when she's not in disguise.
Irma Wop is cinema itself
a kind of effect in There's this costume, something that's more of an idolatry than a commodity and something that's almost magical, and it causes the actress who plays Irma Wepp in both the film and the series to do some dangerous things. which he did not do before. It's like a dress that is like a mask for the body, liberates the person, just like wearing another character or taking on another role and project. Dressing up is a metaphor for role-playing, and acting itself (as well as creating a re-enactment) requires entering the realm of history and conversing with its inhabitants. So maybe it's a meeting with the spirits, with the mention of the dead and the knowledge that they never really disappear or are purified, but at least you can talk to them, learn from them, and be fascinated by them. Whether looking at past events or creating something that will be watched in the future, every film is in dialogue with cinema itself, speaking to spirits. More than a century has passed since the release of "Vampires" and everyone who was in it is no longer in this world and is dead, but as the director of the new HBO miniseries considers, "Irma Wepp's ghost has been looking for cinema ever since." Just like a real vampire, this beauty mixed with death never ends. "Irma Vap" is an 8-episode mini-series of which 5 episodes have been aired since June 16, and a new episode is aired every Monday.