GenreAction, Crime, Fantasy Initial DVD releaseMarch 20, 2002 CountryFrance
Release dateSeptember 19, 2001 (France)
January 2, 2007
(USA) WriterFrancois-Eugene Vidocq (memoirs), Pitof (screenplay), Jean-Christophe Grange (screenplay) Initial releaseSeptember 19, 2001 (France) CastGérard Depardieu (Vidocq), Guillaume Canet (Etienne Boisset), Inés Sastre (Preah), André Dussollier (Lautrennes), Édith Scob (Sylvia), Moussa Maaskri (Nimier) Similar moviesBlackhat, Let's Be Cops, Sherlock Holmes, The Final Girls, Memories of Murder, Se7en
Vidocq 2001 trailer
Vidocq (North American DVD title: Dark Portals: The Chronicles of Vidocq) is a 2001 mystery film, directed by Pitof, starring Gérard Depardieu as historical figure Eugène François Vidocq pursuing a supernatural serial killer. It is notable as being the first major fantasy film to be released that was shot entirely with digital cinematography, using a Sony HDW-F900 CineAlta camera.
The band Apocalyptica featured scenes from the film in the music video for their song "Hope Vol. 2", from their album Cult.
Pitof vidocq montage
In 19th century Paris, the famed detective Vidocq (Gérard Depardieu) disappears while pursuing a murderer called the Alchemist.
Étienne Boisset (Guillaume Canet), a young biographer of Vidocq's, follows in his footsteps and progressively uncovers Vidocq's investigations. He learns how Vidocq was first called in to investigate a series of assassinations by lightning, which led him to pursue the Alchemist. Étienne discovers that the Alchemist is a wizard of sorts who wears a mirrored mask and kills virgins to maintain eternal youth. Even the sex of the Alchemist is a mystery, because it sometimes utters mocking feminine sighs during combat with Vidocq. Étienne probes deeper into Vidocq's investigations and eventually comes to learn that the Alchemist uses virgin blood to make magical mirrors that consume human souls.
At last, Étienne comes to the end of his trail and discovers Vidocq alive and in hiding. Étienne dons a mirrored mask and reveals himself to be the Alchemist. Vidocq has known all along, however, and is ready to fight his nemesis. During their final confrontation, Vidocq defeats the Alchemist, but the end of the film suggests that the Alchemist survives.
Gérard Depardieu as Vidocq
Guillaume Canet as Étienne Boisset
Inés Sastre as Préah
André Dussollier as Lautrennes
Edith Scob as Sylvia
Isabelle Renauld as Marine Lafitte
Moussa Maaskri as Nimier
Jean-Pierre Gos as Tauzet
Jean-Pol Dubois as Belmont
André Penvern as Veraldi
Gilles Arbona as Lafitte
Jean-Marc Thibault as Leviner
François Chattot as Froissard
The film featured 800 shots modified in post-production over a period of eight months, for a cost of over €20 million. As the final PAL DVD release shows, the film was shot 25i (interlaced), and only special effects shots were deinterlaced by means of smart field blending (imitating a progressive-type amount of motion blur due to a different shutter speed of progressive modes) during post-production, as the special effects crew obviously was in demand of progressive frames which are easier to process for special effects, before for the final release all normal shots were deinterlaced by means of simple line interpolation instead. The result are video-like appearance of motions in normal shots, and distinctive film-like motions for all effect shots due to the different amount of motion blur resulting from the different deinterlacing methods.