cinematographic: irma vep, les vampires

a summer spree: crime, that is
(Sometimes, I'd really prefer to edit these collages in my own programs and not the Polyvore function. Look at all that extra white space!)

I'm sorry to show two collage posts in a row, but I couldn't do an outfit shoot this week due to an allergic reaction to some eye makeup remover. Visine, you have never done me wrong before, but wow. I'm looking rather like I've been punched in both eyes here. So...recommendations for another makeup remover, anyone?

Beauty disasters aside, this particular collage was inspired by a favorite picture from the early days of film. Les Vampires, a 1915 film serial created by Louis Feuillade, follows crack journalist Phillipe Guerande on an investigation into the sordid activities of a secret crime gang calling themselves The Vampires. Intriguing as any modern mob movie, the film is shockingly original, intelligent, and sometimes just plain fun. The world of The Vampires as depicted here is grim, a desolate, surreal Paris overrun by crime, but this is no joyless drama. Tricky, inventive characters, downright hilarious plot twists and periodic comic relief from the heroes and the villains lighten the mood considerably.

Silent films have a bad reputation amongst general audiences due to the often slow buildup of plot, but the payoff in Les Vampires is totally worth the wait. Since the serial is 10 hours long, capping the whole story would make for a ridiculously long post. Instead, here are the major characters and some highlights:

Phillippe Guerande, journalist. With an amazing hairstyle, there.
Irma Vep, femme fatale and a major player in the Vampires gang.
Mazamette, undercover agent. Well, sort of.
The Grand Vampire, in disguise, with Irma Vep.
Juan-Jose Moreno, head of a rival gang and enemy of the Vampires.
The color changes in the film communicate the time of day. Blue is for night, green for outdoor daytime, sepia for indoor daytime. Next time you see a modern movie that overuses the blue and orange filters, you'll know just how old that trick is.
The iconic ballet scene.
This man performs some pretty impressive stunts throughout the serial, scaling walls, shimmying down drainpipes and hopping rooftops, all without wires. 
Now how could that face be anything but innocent?
I'm told I look a bit like her. What do you think?

I'll almost certainly be returning to this film in another post. Irma Vep's various menswear-inspired costumes are too lovely not to show.

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