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Maggie Cheung is a martial arts movie star from Hong Kong. She has just arrived in Paris to play the lead role in a TV-remake of the 1915 silent movie serial "Vampires" by Louis Feuillade, to be directed by René Vidal. Maggie is to reinterpret the part originally played by Musidora as a modern Irma Vep more in the style of Catwoman in Batman 2. Alone in Paris without a word of French, struggling to communicate in awkward English with people who speak it no better than she, Maggie muddles through the mists of jetlag and the ups and downs of daily life on the shoot, trying to figure out what people really want from her.
"The first thing one notices about "Irma Vep" is that Olivier Assayas' register hasn't simply widened, it's moved into a league of its own. By one knows not what stroke of magic, here's a director who has returned with something entirely new: an oblique viewpoint, a nervous acidity, balanced, slender humour. (...) What the film handles with such joyful elegance is the evocation of a domain cinema fights most shy of: the world of cinema itself. (...)"
(Olivier Séguret - Libération)