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Film / Immortal

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Humans, mutants, of New York or elsewhere, say no to synthetic flesh and virtual brain. Say no to Eugenics.
Spirit of Nikopol

Immortal (original French title: Immortel (ad vitam)) is a 2004 Science Fantasy film directed by Enki Bilal, loosely based on his Nikopol Trilogy series of comic books (specifically, the albums "The Carnival of Immortals" and "The Woman Trap").

It is the year 2095, New York City is a dystopian metropolis ruled by corrupt politicians controlled by the powerful Eugenics Corporation. The population consists of mutants, aliens and cybernetically/genetically enchanced humans, who are segregated by levels (with the humans on top).

One day, a mysterious hovering pyramid appears over the cityscape, a vessel for the Egyptian gods who are about to condemn their fellow, Horus, to eternal prison for rebellion. Before his sentence is carried out, he is given seven days to look upon his creation.

Meanwhile, equally strange events unfold in the city: Central Park is encased by a barrier of unknown origin dubbed "The Intrusion Zone", as none can enter it yet strange human-like individuals constantly emerge from it - refugees either from alien worlds, or alternate versions of Earth different enough they may as well be aliens; either way, their alien physiologies are of immense interest to the Eugenics Coporation, which constantly collects them for study. One of these refugees is Jill, a blue-haired, white-skinned woman with abnormal physiology and supernatural powers. Meanwhile, a mauled police inspector is investigating a series of serial killings in which the bodies of seemingly random individuals appear to have been torn apart from the inside out... and a mechanical failure enables Nikopol, a political dissident sentenced to 30 years of hibernation, to escape from prison a year early.

It's almost like some Greek tragedy, all the pieces slowly coming together.

The CGI graphics for the movie were produced by Quantic Dream. The film stars Thomas Kretschmann as Nikopol.

Not to be confused with the band Immortal, or the film Immortals. And do not, for the love of Horus, confuse with the Fan Fic My Immortal.

This movie contains examples of:

  • An Arm and a Leg: "I gained a year, but I lost a leg. FUCK!"
  • Animal Nemesis: Inspector Froebe has had a grudge against the Dayak ever since it bit half of his face off.
  • Artificial Limbs: Horus crafts a new leg for Nikopol out of a piece of railway.
  • Art Shift: Most of the film is computer-animated but life-action scenes are also used. Early in the film people of the same art style seem to stay by themselves, but later real people and a computer-generated man drive in the same car for instance.
  • Big Applesauce: Talk about big! (Unsurprisingly, it has more of a European feel.)
  • Bittersweet Ending: Jill remembers nothing of Nikopol, but they meet and are fascinated by each other, enabling them to start their relationship anew without Horus' interference (aside from Horus' contribution to their child, but said shapeshifting baby is rather fascinating as well).
  • Bilingual Bonus: Jill reciting a snippet of Baudelaire's "The Poison" in French.
  • Body Surf: The bodies of the inhabitants of New York are too heavily mutated and modified to survive being Horus' hosts for long, so he is forced to jump from one to another every few hours.
  • Born-Again Immortality: This is the form of immortality that Horus ultimately acquires. After siring his offspring with Jill, he willingly accepts judgment by his fellow gods. She's later seen with a baby that turns into a falcon.
  • Cultural Translation: Originally taking place in Paris, it was moved to New York for the movie.
  • Cyberpunk with a Chance of Rain: The skies in New York are perpetually and dismally overcast, except in Central Park, which mysteriously has the weather conditions of Antarctica.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Divine on Mortal: The Egyptian god Horus forces himself on the only woman on Earth able to bear his child using mind control. The guy whose body he possessed to do this was less than pleased, and it remains a bitter point of their love triangle (since the possessed guy starts falling for her). Horus himself states he doesn't see it as rape after getting an earful from Nikopol, and when further pressed on it points out that he's Above Good and Evil. At the end, she bears Horus' child, allowing him to cheat his fellow gods, and Nikopol goes to see her again.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: The Doctor is implied to have more than a purely professional interest in Jill.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Between Nikopol and Horus. Technically, they're involved in a MFM threeway romance with the same woman through Horus possessing Nikopol during the act, but Horus takes an extraordinary interest in Nikopol as well, beyond what would be necessary to fulfill his own purposes.
  • Medium Blending: Combines life-action and computer animated scenes and characters. Justified because some characters like the egyptian gods would look silly in their get-up in life-action, but except for three people of the main cast everyone is computer generated.
  • No Body Left Behind: After John dies, his body disappears, leaving only the clothes and black bandages he was wrapped in.
  • One-Word Title
  • Only One Name: Nikopol, John. Though in the comic book, Nikopol's first name is Alcide.
  • People of Hair Color: Blue hair is one of the defining characteristics of Jill's species, along with blue nipples.
  • Really Was Born Yesterday: It's implied that Jill was created as a full-grown adult only several weeks before, as she has very little understanding of human society or behavior.
  • Possession Burnout: Horus runs into this problem, as he can only successfully possess pure humans unaltered by genetic modification. As most of the humans in 2095 New York are augmented in some way, they eventually die after he takes over their bodies. Nikopol is suitable as a host body precisely because he's still unaltered, having spent the last several decades in a cryo-prison.
  • Powers via Possession: The only way Nikopol can lift that iron leg of his. Before departing from Earth, Horus grants him the ability to use the leg permanently.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The film version selects certain images and story elements from the comics and uses those. Since Bilal adapted his own work, he must have done so carefully.
  • Science Fantasy: The film is set in the future and features things such as flying cars, human augmentation, and other sci-fi conventions, but there are also Egyptian gods running amok with supernatural powers.
  • Shark Man: One of the scientists that captured Jill is a red-skinned man/hammerhead hybrid.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Nikopol asks for a shot of ''Tarkovskai'' vodka at the Tycho Brahe Bar.
    • A woman with prominent facial surgery is seen in a clinic early in the film. Viewers may recognise her from Terry Gilliam's Brazil.
  • Sinister Geometry: The spaceship used by the Egyptian Pantheon is naturally a flying pyramid.
  • Swiss-Army Tears: Averted. Jill's tears are only good for permanently staining human skin blue.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Horus can not only switch from animal-headed humanoid to full eagle form, but can also alter his host's body as seen when Nikopol's multi-story fall is stopped by his arms turning into wings.