Irma Vep (1996)

dir. Olivier Assayas. Maggie Cheung playing herself, is in Paris, to star in a chaotic remake of classic French serial ‘Les Vampires’. Maggie Cheung is transcendent as the foreign actress. Her costume is a black skin tight latex catsuit. At one point the costume designer comments that “It’s like she was poured into it”, she’s not wrong. Jean-Pierre Léaud (who played Antoine as a teenager in THE 400 BLOWS (1959)), is the director, a wonderful performance, but is nearly unintelligible at times, his French accent is so strong. Amazing use of music, especially with Sonic Youth, and the Serge Gainsbourg song ‘Bonnie and Clyde’. For anyone who was worked in a country where they don’t speak the native language, it’s interesting to watch the film crew talk around Maggie Cheung, how they drift between English and French, on set and during the dinner party. Amazing hand drawn end credits. Possibly the best example of a film-within-a-film?

Waiting For Guffman (1996)

dir. Christopher Guest. My favorite ‘Mockumentary’ style film. The audition scenes still have me tearing up with laughter. An incredible twelve years after writing on THIS IS SPINAL TAP (1984), Christoper Guest returns to the genre as director and co-writer, and it’s a masterpiece. Fun cameo from David Cross as the UFO expert. The movie that made me fall in love with Parker Posey. Cool to see that the Spinal Tap band collaborated to write the songs for the musical within this film. A true ensemble performance, every character has their own moment. A real comedy classic.

Bound (1996)

dir. Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski. Sensational film. Apparently the Wachowski’s were inspired by Billy Wilder’s movies, and it shows. To my mind, there’s also just as much Hitchcock, if not more. This deserves to be included in the best gangster films of the 1990s, along with HEAT (1995), RESERVOIR DOGS (1992) and MILLER’S CROSSING (1990). Some David Lynch style humor here and there. Jennifer Tilly (Violet) and Gina Gershon (Corky) have amazing sexual chemistry. Joe Pantoliano as the crooked boyfriend is spot-on, I can see why the Wachowski’s cast him as the traitorous Cypher in THE MATRIX (1999). Some really amazing cinematography, you can see some similar ideas in THE MATRIX, with cameras following cables, flying over walls, moving through objects.