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This time, the tryst goes way, way over the top. Suffice to say that Sandra is compelled to assume the identity of her online alter-ego, the super-heroine Vortex, and is effectively catapulted, alone and endangered, into the mad maze of Hong Kong. More than anything else, Assayas has a feel for the routine discomforts of the new global order. Assayas is the most versatile of mid-career French directors. Boarding Gate , like demonlover , is a nastier version of Irma Vep , protesting without much conviction a world that the filmmaker clearly enjoys. A few Boarding Gate defenders have observed that, as pulp heroines go, Argento is far more compelling than Chung. Argento is a nexus of contradiction.
Asia Argento writes stories and novels, directs music videos, documentaries, and feature films, and appears in movies, sometimes with her clothes on. In the past, Sandra has done some nasty work for a Paris-based investor Michael Madsen who was also her lover—she slept with his clients and listened to their secrets. Ninety years ago, Theda Bara, the original movie vamp, lured men to their doom, but Bara, even at her most alluring, looked like a sweet young woman dutifully doing a job. Argento, by contrast, was born into a movie family: her mother is the actress Daria Nicolodi and her father is Dario Argento, the horror-movie director and master of luridness. Now thirty-two, Argento has been onscreen since the age of nine.
And why not? Argento seems to invite trouble, and Mr. Assayas, who has a way of capturing the seemingly ineffable, has a thing for troubled, troubling women.