The Irma Vep (HBO Max) series is the result of an obsession: Olivier Assayas’s with vampires. The French director had already directed a feature film in 1996 with the same title which, in turn, was his personal tribute to the 1915 silent serial Vampires, by Louis Feuillade. Silent series, feature film and sound series allow its creator to mix times and techniques in a display of montage, of cinema within cinema, without neglecting a certain point of author narcissism.
Alicia Vikander, who could be Natalie Portman’s little sister because of her physique, decides to star in the series directed by René Duval, the alter ego of Assayas, played by an extraordinary Vincent Macaigne, an insecure and neurotic director who maintains long tirades with his psychiatrist between crisis and crisis. And the protagonist intervenes in the project because she carries a double bad conscience: that of a complex sentimental breakup with her girlfriend and that of having starred in a successful blockbuster, since it seems that the fact that the stalls are filled goes against quality . Meanwhile, the protagonist identifies more and more with her role, although we do not know if it will reach the point of Bela Lugosi, buried with his Dracula cape by express family wish.
In any case, the eight chapters of Irma Vep are an intelligent reflection on cinema from the personal perspective of its creator, in which action and thought, past and present, are intermingled, without neglecting the egomania of its creator. Of course, without that point of vanity, so frequent in the arts, we would not be able to contemplate, for example, Las meninas. The one by the other.
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