Released in 2004, “36 Quai des Orfèvres” is inspired by several real events that have shaken French news and police institutions over the past thirty years.
36 Quai des Orfèvres: and the Olivier Marchal style was born
Before realizing 36 Quai des Goldsmiths, Olivier Marchal was a former policeman who worked during the 1980s. In parallel with his profession, he also took drama lessons at the Conservatory. This allows him to attract the curiosity of a casting director who makes him play his first role at the end of the 80s. Irony of fate: he plays an inspector. This new experience will fascinate him, to the point of leaving the police environment. in order to definitively embrace a film career.
After having filmed a lot as an actor, he began to go behind the camera during the 2000s. He thus stood out by taking the reins of the series. Police District which receives very good reviews. Writing in parallel for other series (Commissioner Moulin, Central Night), he made his first film in 2002 entitled Gangsters. This black polar gives birth to the realistic, dark and brutal style of Olivier Marchal. However, he went further in 2004 with 36 Quai des Goldsmiths.
Always shot in an environment that fascinates him, namely the police, the director rarely addresses the murky links between the uniform and organized crime. Packed with big stars (Daniel Auteuil, Gérard Depardieu, André Dussollier, Roschdy Zem, Valeria Golino …), 36 Quai des Goldsmiths is a real critical and commercial success. Thanks to this film, Olivier Marchal will be considered as the master of cinematographic thrillers in France. Many of his subsequent films will also be compared to 36 Quai des Goldsmiths, without however achieving the excellence of the latter.
Real fact number 1
For his script of 36 Quai des Goldsmiths, Olivier Marchal was inspired by two cases which shook the world of the police force in the 80s. The first is linked to the “gang of hairpieces”, an association of criminals which stood out between 1981 and 1986. Responsible for many bank robberies, its members were particularly known for their original modus operandi. Indeed, they robbed the agencies often wearing fake wigs and fake mustaches. Tired of the audacity of this gang, the police of the capital will implement great means.
Thus in 1986, an important operation was set up to put out of harm’s way the criminals. But all this will end in a real fiasco. Indeed, while the gang of Postiches is taking hostages in a bank rue du Docteur-Blanche, the BRI (Research and Intervention Brigade) and the BRB (Brigade for the Repression of Banditry) are trying to trap the thugs in them. waiting at the exit to take them in spinning. Only, the operation turns into a bloodbath since the commissioner Raymond Mertz, believing himself spotted by the mobsters, opens fire without warning on them. This will lead to a violent shootout which will result in two deaths : the hairpiece Bruno Berliner on one side, and the policeman Jean Vrindts on the other. This affair will also cause a movement of rare rebellion within the PJ, demanding the resignation of Mertz.
The character played by Gérard Depardieu is thus largely inspired by the infamous commissioner.
Real fact # 2
The film’s script is also inspired by the Ripoux gang, a group of criminals who were in reality crooked policemen. The latter have committed numerous attacks in the Paris region, being guilty of several misdeeds: armed attacks, kidnappings, burglaries and illegal arrests.
An internal investigation is then carried out and a blacklist begins to circulate. Among the names cited, we find Dominique Loiseau, accused of being a ripou. The latter will ardently proclaim his innocence, but will be sentenced to 12 years of criminal imprisonment. He was finally pardoned in 1993. The character played by Daniel Auteuil was inspired by Loiseau.