Index Screening schedule

Irma Vep

Olivier Assayas
France 1996 / 99’
subtitles: Polish and English
Cold Water HHH - The Portrait of Hou Hsiao-hsien

Perhaps only Olivier Assayas could come up with the idea for a film like Irma Vep. The main character is René Vidal (played by one of the icons of the New Wave, Jean-Pierre Leaud), a once-famous director who is desperately dreaming about making a return to the top. In an attempt to achieve his goal, he comes up with the crazy idea of remaking Louis Feuillade’s famous Les vampires of 1915. As if that were not enough, Vidal decides to cast an action star from Hong Kong (Maggie Cheung) in the lead role. As you might guess, working in these conditions proves to be a unique experience. Assayas observes the efforts of the film crew with a bitter irony aimed at the absurdities of the contemporary co-production system, the lack of imagination on the part of screenwriters and the weakness of a system focused on movie stars. At the same time, however, the director is unable to refrain from treating the helpless protagonists with the melancholy affection of a cinephile. It is the resulting ambivalence that has undoubtedly ensured Irma Vep’s place, alongside Day for Night and Beware of a Holy Whore, as one of the most fascinating self-referential films in cinematic history.

Piotr Czerkawski


Rotterdam IFF 1997 – KNF Award


Tickets sale starts on 17th July, 12pm.
su 28 Jul, 22:00 dcf la
fr 02 Aug, 19:00 dcf la
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Olivier Assayas

Born in Paris in 1955, Olivier Assayas is the son of screenwriter Jacques Rémy (whose real name was Raymond Assayas). It was at his father’s side that Olivier took his first steps in the industry while still a teenager. He began making his first short amateur films a little while later. At the same time, he launched his career as a film critic, writing for the famous Cahiers du cinéma. He made his full-length debut with Disorder in 1986. Since then, he has made a number of films that have ensured him a position as one of the most important directors in European cinema. His most acclaimed works include Irma Vep, Something in the Air (an award winner for best screenplay at the Venice Festival) and Clouds of Sils Maria.

Selected filmography

1986 Bezład / Désordre / Disorder

1989 Zimowe dziecko / L’enfant de l’hiver / Winter’s Child

1991 Paryż się budzi / Paris s’éveille / Paris Awakens

1993 Nowe życie / Une nouvelle vie / A New Life

1994 Zimna woda / L’eau froide / Cold Water

1996 Irma Vep

1998 Koniec sierpnia, początek września / Fin août, début septembre / Late August, Early September

2000 Ścieżki uczuć / Les destinées sentimentales / Sentimental Destinies

2002 Demonlover

2004 Czysta / Clean

2007 Przejście / Boarding Gate

2008 Pewnego lata / L’heure d’été / Summer Hours

2010 Carlos (TV series)

2012 Po maju / Après mai / Something in the Air

2014 Sils Maria / Clouds of Sils Maria 

2016 Personal Shopper

2018 Doubles vies / Non-Fiction

Cast & Crew

director Olivier Assayas
screenplay Olivier Assayas
cinematography Eric Gautier
editing Luc Barnier
music Philippe Richard
cast Maggie Cheung, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Nathalie Richard
producer Georges Benayoun, Françoise Guglielmi
production Dacia Films, Canal+
sales MK2
language French, English
colouration colour