‘Irma Vep’ Episode 1: Recap And Ending, Explained – What Problem Did Gregory Have With Rene Vidal?


If one has to point out any difference in the tonality of the HBO miniseries, “Irma Vep,” and the 1996 film of the same name, which it is based on, then it could be said that the 2022 series is even more self-referential and critical about the topics and subjects it delves into. The film and the series, both have been directed by Olivier Assayas and follow the same narrative, though this time, having a greater opportunity to digress. Alicia Vikander plays an actress, Mira, who is not satisfied with her career graph. She wants to explore her own subconscious and get a chance to understand the mindset of a convoluted character, in a way that a big studio often does not let her. She is excited about the upcoming project that she is doing with the ace director Rene Vidal, who is known for his eccentricities and a brilliant cinematic mind. Mira embarks on the journey and only time will tell whether she would be able to satiate her creative aspirations or not.

‘Irma Vep’ Episode 1: Recap Summary

Mira was relieved that the marketing campaign for her film, Doomsday, was finally going to end. In episode 1 of “Irma Vep,” we see her getting tired of giving all the interviews and talking about her character, over and over again. She played a character named Nausicaa in the film, and the audience and the media were seeing her character in a very different light as compared to the perspective she held about it. Mira knew how to distinguish between a hit and an authentic piece of art. From the interviews she gives to the journalists, it is evident that Mira never thought that the film took a symbolic approach or catered to a philosophy that aimed at changing society. Her character, Nausicaa, had slit the throat of her superhero husband, and it was being perceived by many, as an act of defiance against an unjust society. Maybe it was just sheer luck and the director, Herman, never intended consciously to inculcate those philosophies in his screenplay, but Mira knew she couldn’t say that explicitly. The fame, the flashes, the attention and frenzied behavior of  her fans, everything, had lost its sparkle for Mira. She wanted to do a meaty role that gave her an opportunity to explore herself. More than attending the events, she was looking forward to working with Rene Vidal on her next project called Irma Vep, a series that was based on the 1916 French silent film called Les Vampires, directed by Louis Feuillade.

Apart from the mundane interviews, photoshoots, and public events, Mira had an issue with one more thing. At the premiere, Herman, the director, was going to be present with his new wife, Laurie, who shared a history with Mira. Laurie used to be Mira’s assistant and had met Herman through her. The director was immediately smitten by her charm, and they decided to get married. In a very interesting conversation that Herman is having with his friend at the premiere, he comments on the fickle nature of studio representatives and how every creator waits for a fluke to happen in their life that skyrockets their aspirations. In episode 1 of Irma Vep, Mira finally meets Rene, and tries to understand his approach, as it was very different from the directors of those big-budget films that she had been a part of for her entire career. René was very particular about what he wanted to do. Edmond Lagrange was playing Philippe Guerande in the series, and he tells Rene that he was not happy with his character arc. He wanted Philippe Guernade to share a few intimate scenes with his on-screen fiancee, Marfa Koutiloff, who was being played by Severine, who in fact shared a romantic relationship with the actor until things got bitter between the two. But Rene was relentless when it came to his vision and didn’t want to change anything in the original screenplay.

Why Was Laurie Being Rude To Mira?

Mira has an awkward encounter with Laurie. She wanted to say whatever she had in her mind, as they were in a relationship before Laurie decided to get married. Mira had no clue that something was going on between Laurie and Herman. For all this while, she had been pretending that she was unaffected by Laurie’s decision, but in fact, it had shaken her internally. Laurie had problems with the relationship she shared with Mira. She tells the actress that she was not an easy person to be with and often quite intimidating too. They had an open relationship, but Laurie never signed up for that. She feels that there was a lack of empathy from Mira’s side. Mira speculates that Herman lacked the qualities that Laurie generally looked for in her partner, and she only chose to be in a hetero marriage so that she could be recognized, get a bit of fame, and avail the materialistic luxuries.

After the premiere party, Mira and Laurie meet once again. Laurie gives into her concupiscence and puts Mira under observance through her gaze. It was proof of the fact that she was still besotted by him and the possibility of the ex-lovers indulging once again could not be fully negated. But for the time being, Laurie wanted to give Mira a taste of her own medicine. She had worked as an assistant for Mira and often felt that she was being belittled by her. There was an inequality that existed, and Laurie had to be the subdued one. She wanted to control the reins just as Mira once did. She wanted to make it very clear that she was in charge and was no longer obligated to act according to the whims and fancies of the actress. Mira wanted to pursue her, but Laurie was getting sadistic pleasure by leading her to the edge and then letting her expectations down. It frustrates Mira, but she realizes that she couldn’t do much about it as Laurie was no longer her assistant.

‘Irma Vep’ Episode 1: Ending Explained – What Problem Did Gregory Have With Rene Vidal?

Mira was looking forward to meeting Rene and playing the character of Irma Vep, but the director was having a lot of issues with the production house. Gregory Desormeaux, the producer, confronts Rene, as the latter had told the insurance doctor that he was on antidepressants. Gregory was annoyed at Rene for sharing that information, as it was generally an unsaid custom in the film industry to not reveal anything to the insurance company, as it gave them a reason to increase the premium and unnecessarily create an issue. Gregory went back and forth, but to no avail. The insurance company was not ready to insure Rene. Apart from disclosing that he was on mood stabilizers, he didn’t share a very good reputation. A lot of times, his professionalism had become a matter of concern for Gregory, and the insurance company had to bear the consequences of that. Rene was a volatile and temperamental director. He was unpredictable and resided in a realm that didn’t have anything to do with the word “business.” His agenda was only to satiate his creative impulses, and he didn’t care whether a film was able to incur profits or not. He wasn’t ever deterred from criticizing his own ventures, and that didn’t go too well with the producers. Despite all these issues, Rene still had a brazen attitude and was showing no signs of rectification. Gregory was vouching for the impudent director as of now, but he wasn’t sure when he could handle his idiosyncrasies, which the people of the business world found rather absurd and unethical. If he was fired from his post, it would not only be a setback for the director, but also for Mira, who had longed to work with him.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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