Vidocq (2001 film)

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Film poster
Directed by Pitof
Produced by Dominique Farrugia
Written by Eugène François Vidocq
Jean-Christophe Grangé (screenplay)
Starring Gérard Depardieu
Guillaume Canet
Inés Sastre
André Dussollier
Music by Bruno Coulais
Cinematography Jean-Pierre Sauvaire
Jean-Claude Thibout
Edited by Thierry Hoss
Distributed by UGC-Fox Distribution (France)
Lionsgate (USA)
Release dates
September 19, 2001 (France)
January 2, 2007
Running time
98 minutes
Country France
Language French
Budget FRF 152,000,000 (estimated)

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.[1]

The band Apocalyptica, did a music video for their song "Hope Vol.2" from their album Cult, which features scenes of this film.


In 19th century Paris, the famed detective Vidocq (Gérard Depardieu) disappears while pursuing a murderer called the Alchemist.

Etienne 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. Etienne 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. Etienne 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, Etienne comes to the end of his trail and discovers Vidocq alive and in hiding. Etienne 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.


The film featured 800 shots modified in post-production over a period of eight months,[2] for a cost of over €20 million.[3] 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.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Charles Masters (February 15, 2000). "French 'vidocq' A High-definition First". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2008-09-18. 
  2. ^ "Vidocq — Filmreview". Cinergy AG. Retrieved 2008-09-18. 
  3. ^ Laurent Ziliani. "Vidocq review". La Plume Noire. Retrieved 2008-09-18. 

External links[edit]

  • Vidocq at the Internet Movie Database
  • History of Vidocq, private detective, with the reading (French) of Vidocq's letters by an actor: [1] (French) (Centre d'information sur les détectives), or [2] (English)