Irma Vep reissued

December 12, 2008

The new DVD of Irma Vep is out, this time from Zeitgeist Video.  At last it is an anamorphic transfer, giving significantly better picture quality, but the sound is better too, resulting in more intelligible dialogue. It is stereo with the original 1.66:1 aspect ratio. Extras include a commentary track (which I have not listened to yet), A “behind the scenes” feature, also with an optional commentary, and a short silent “Portrait of Maggie Cheung” by Assayas. There is also a twenty page booklet with essays “Regarding Maggie” and “Louis Feuillade” (the maker of the original Irma Vep) both by Olivier Assayas, and “The Rapurously Mobile Eye” by Kent Jones of Film Comment.

The behind the scenes feature is not the usual Making Of studio publicity documentary, but footage shot by someone who followed film people with his camera, sometimes to their annoyance, and tried to get them to talk to him. Some of it is at the film production, but some is “here are some film actors coming out of a restaurant”.