DNA cinephile🏳️🌈’s review published on Letterboxd:
Irma Vep. 2022. Directed by Olivier Assayas.
Episode 2. The Ring That Kills.
Episode two of Irma Vep (2022) was better than the pilot (and we thought it was excellent). Assayas’s reboot is working well and the character development is moving in contemporarily pertinent directions: mental health on sets, mental health insurance for directors, better pay for costume designers, and inclusivity on sets.
The introduction of Lars Eidinger as Gottfried was interesting and disturbing in a pleasant way. Eidinger is great at portraying extremely outlandish characters (e.g. Peter Greenaway’s Goltzius and the Pelican Company). Jeanne Balibar (Memoria, Grace of Monaco, The Girl from Monaco, Never Ever, and Cold War) was shining as Zoe the costume designer who speaks truth to nonsense and has a strongly written lesbian character. Alicia Vikander had more time in her costume. Her scenes were creatively and sensually added with classic footage of Louis Feuillade’s Les Vampires while comparing and contrasting added a multidimensional approach that left us just as happy as Everything Everywhere All At Once. Vikander was not experiencing herself in the past but the actor(s) from Les Vampires were shown in integrated clips throughout the episode giving us a reminder of the power of silent cinema concurrent with the contemporary production of Irma Vep and the contemporary issues of French cinema (e.g. insuring directors with mental illness, equal pay, more respect for costume designers, and the entire crew should have a voice or means to communicate to improve set dynamics as a whole).
Assayas success with Irma Vep and his amicable divorce from Maggie Cheung, although sad, has proven that his love of the subject matter has only increased. If you are an Irma Vep (1996) fan, this TV series (8 hour movie) is for you. To be gifted with eight 50 plus minute episodes is a grandiose project that should be appreciated as a whole. As we stated after viewing “The Severed Head,” we wish the entire series were dropped (Netflix style) so we could analyze the whole rather than episode by episode. One could wait for the entire series to end and then write. But, we feel the passion of the moment after each episode airs so, we have chosen to post a review after each episode. Then, we will write about the entire season from a top down approach giving us a bird’s eye view of Assayas approach and outline.
Viewed on HBOMAX.