Iram Vep, an anagram for vampire, is the main character in a classic 1915 film, Les Vampires, that starred Musidora, a French silent film actress. Artist Michelle Handelman has taken the epic 7-hour film about a bizarre underground criminal gang and transformed into “Irma Vep, The Last Breath,” a video project that is about “living in the shadows, criminal anxiety and the relationship between the artist and her creation, both fictional and real.”
In Handelman’s film the roles of Irma Vep and Musidora are played by two artists (Zackary Drucker and Mother Flawless Sabrina) and they offer the audience seemingly intimate revelations about their lives and their place in society.
It is luxuriously shot with rich colors and glowing sets. The characters are conscious of the construction of their identity and reflect on what it means. Art and life are blurred into something that is sprinkled with the anxiety of loneliness and filmed using the language of documentary film. The film also pokes fun at our contemporary obsession with criminals and vampires, those creatures of our popular imagination that consume people to survive.