First Impressions | Irma Vep: A24 series with Alicia Vikander is great, but not for everyone

Metalinguistics in all its construction, Irma Vep arrives as a glimpse into how the film industry itself works at its core, between temperamental directors, support crews constantly subjugated to ludicrous requests from the cast and disagreements on a closed set, full of opinions, customs and different views on everything. For a rooted cinephile, passionate about this creative underworld, the production of Olivier Assayas it is one of the most accurate self-analyses. From the red carpets watered by inflated egos, to the countless interviews with journalists from around the world, the universe of a movie star works exactly like this contrast of colors: The darkness of loneliness and constant dissatisfaction and the warm tones of a trendy life at events sumptuous, public harassment and repetitive vices.

And in the midst of all this confusion is Alicia Vikander, who almost gives life to an alter ego of herself in the role of Mira. Star of blockbuster films and with proposals for adaptations of the comics knocking at the door, she craves what most Hollywood actors crave: The prestige and respect that only an independent production can genuinely give them. And as she tries to find herself in a French remake of a classic 1915 silent film, the wealthy young actress tries to figure out who she really is in between scenes. On a set led by an actor dominated by the syndrome of stardom and by an explosive director dependent on mood inhibitors, she tries to navigate a scenario that – in the best of her days – would naturally be a ticking time bomb, like every movie production of fact is.

And the charisma of vikander takes care of the scenes. As a woman who struggles to look like she’s not trying too hard, she lives between the apathy of a slightly slurred speech and a downcast gaze and the pressure of trying to outdo herself in a challenging role. Around her, a number of quirky and uncaptivating characters orbit her tiny subplots, adding some greater level of depth to the production’s star. And Assays, who here recreates their own movie Irma Vep – released in 1996, tries to expand its original feature into a more accessible format, Americanizing its French original to a format that better flirts with today’s audience, which essentially feeds on streaming platforms.

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with the help of HBOfilmmaker and producer A24 turn the cult film into a more marketable but still very restricted series. Slow-paced and with a much more subjective proposal – whose larger plot is between the lines of the construction of the character Mira -, the series was not made for everyone. Mixing drama and suspense in a very mysterious way, Irma Vep it is still somewhat indecipherable in its first two episodes. Would it be a clinical analysis behind the scenes of a production or would it be a metalinguistic epic with a promising and chaotic plot twist? This is still a well-kept secret, which many people may not have the same patience to try to find out in the next chapters.

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