Immortel (ad vitam) (2004)

Starring: Linda Hardy, Thomas Kretschmann, Charlotte Rampling,
Frédéric Pierrot, Thomas M. Pollard, Yann Collette, Derrick Brenner

Director: Enki Bilal

U.S. Opening Date: TBA


For most people this movie’s claim to fame is that it is one of several movies recently made that used digital backgrounds instead of “real” ones. The best example is perhaps Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (Lucas is also filming Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith using this method).

I said for most people, but for me I’d like to see this movie because it is based upon one of my favourite sci-fi graphic novels, namely the so-called Nikopol Trilogy (which consists of three previously published works, namely Carnival of Mortals, Woman Trap and Cold Equator) by Enki Bilal.

Bilal is quite a cult figure in Europe (my favourite graphic novels of his is The Hunting Party), but probably not that well-known in the States or elsewhere. (In fact I bought my several volumes of Bilal graphic novels during a holiday in Greece many years ago.)

His style would be somewhat familiar to those of Moebius and his work has also appeared in Metal Hurlant (known outside France as Heavy Metal) magazine.

Interesting to note is that:

  • the movie is directed by Bilal himself
  • the setting has been moved to New York from France – probably with an eye on the lucrative U.S. box office
  • the plot actually has some elements in common with The Fifth Element (also French, which had a girl with orange-dyed running around New York instead of a girl with blue-dyed hair running around New York)
  • the CGI doesn’t look all that fantastic to be honest.

Anyway, French cinema may be anathema to most visitors to this page, I’d bet that they’d want to check this one out . . .

(Uhm, so what are the graphic novels about then I can hear you ask. Here's a summary from "It's the year 2023 and Alcide Nikopol has been revived from a state of suspended animation after 30 years orbiting Earth. In the meantime, the planet has suffered two nuclear wars, and France is ruled by the ruthless dictator J.F. Choublanc. The immortal gods of Egyptian antiquity have also reawakened to revive their rule over humanity, and they now hover above the crumbling technopolis of Paris in a massive stone pyramid/airship. Horus, the renegade falcon god, takes possession of Nikopol's body, rendering him immortal, and concocts a conspiracy to overthrow the Choublanc regime. When Nikopol cracks under the pressure of Horus's possession, he is reduced to muttering the poetry of Baudelaire while he wanders the halls of a mental hospital.")

Photo gallery:

(Click on images to enlarge them)




Plot Summary for Immortel (ad vitam)

New York 2095. In a strange pyramid floating in the sky, the gods of ancient Egypt are judging Horus. In the city, a young woman with blue hair and tears is arrested, but she has a secret power, even to herself...

Some sources:

Trivia about Immortel (ad vitam)

  • Was one of several films around the world that were the first to use an entirely "digital backlot" (i.e. the actors were all shot in front of blue- and green-screens with all the backgrounds added in post-production, a technique which has been used for TV, video and video game production for many years). Fans debate on which movie was shot first, but the other movies include: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004), Casshern (2004), and Sin City (2005).

Some sources:






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