After idly combing through this site's questions and answers, my mind is being triggered into recalling fragments of things I can't place names on. There's this French movie (dubbed in English) I saw on VHS so I believe it was mid to late 1990s, about a little girl and a big strong guy. Here's a list of things I remembered but probably not in chronological order:

  • The protagonists were a dark haired little girl and a big really strong man looking for a little boy who was kidnapped by a bizarre mad scientist.
  • The antagonist (the mad scientist) was experimenting on children he kidnapped and used a machine that made them turn old while it made him young ... I think.
  • The setting was a dark and rundown port city and I don't even remember if there was a scene taking place during the day. So either the story took place in a span of a night or it's a place where the sun never graces its shores.
  • I remembered they were being hunted down by a pair of crazy female Siamese twins. They had a organ grinder that they used to control fleas to attack the heroes.
  • The big man (or was it the girl?) used a big freighter ship to run the twins down ... I think.
  • They eventually ended up on an island/laboratory of the mad scientist. I think the little girl was captured and experimented on. The tables turned on the mad scientist because of the little girl's incredible will made the machine backfire on him. I think she ended up as a full grown adult and the mad scientist a mind addled idiot or vegetable.
  • The actor who portrayed the big guy I think is an American actor, if I knew his name, I probably could find the movie easily ...

I hope the information is enough to go on, that's as much as I can remember after 15+ years.

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    It's great that SE is able to answer questions so readily, but google's pretty awesome too. I had no clue, but just a quick keyword search for "french movie sci fi mad scientist kidnaps children" gave the IMDB entry for the correct movie as the first link. – Deepak Aug 15 '15 at 8:41
  • @Deepak, you are correct about Google, I use it all the time. I like the unique perspectives from this site. It's called a discussion and if I'm not in the right place then I'll close my account here. – zer00ne Aug 15 '15 at 8:55
  • Firstly, I'm new to SciF SE too (albeit not SE in general) too. Secondly, you didn't pose a question specifically to start a discussion, the primary intent seemed to be to identify a movie you remembered. I made my comment with the intent to help you (and any others) realise that that aim can much more easily be realised with a simple google search. If you'd posted the movie name and then brought up any specific issues for free discussion, I would definitely not have made my comment. Lastly, it seems you're taking my comment personally, so let me clarify that no offence at all was intended. – Deepak Aug 15 '15 at 9:10
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    I don't wish to waste too much time on what I perceive to be little more than a pointless discussion in comments, so I'll end with this: I never said anything about reporting you, and I reiterate that my first comment was made with no offence intended. I think it's you that need to lighten up, given that the whole "I'm-a gonna close my account here!" thing smacks of a petulant child threatening to pick up his toys and go home when the other kids don't play nice. That's all I have to say, have a great day. – Deepak Aug 15 '15 at 9:37
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    Maybe it's okay for this stackexchange website but I know a lot of stackexchange websites find questions that can easily be googled of poor quality. The reason for that is that one expects that the asker of the question should show that he or she put some effort in finding the answer himself. – Ivo Beckers Aug 15 '15 at 10:31

This is La cité des enfants perdus (released as The City of Lost Children in the US) from 1995. From the Wikipedia page linked:

From an ocean rig, a demented scientist, Krank (Daniel Emilfork), kidnaps children from the nearby, unnamed port city to steal their dreams, as he is incapable of having dreams of his own. Among them is the adopted little brother, Denree (Joseph Lucien), of carnival strongman and former whaler One (Ron Perlman), who sets out to rescue him with the help of a little girl named Miette (Judith Vittet), a member of a thieves' guild composed entirely of orphaned children. They delve into the world of a bio-mechanical kidnapping cult and discover the connection between the scientist and the missing Denree.

The excerpt above covers most of the plot points you mentioned. The article continues on to mention the conjoined twins, the fleas and the organ grinder:

Conjoined twins known as the Octopus (Geneviève Brunet and Odile Mallet) control the thieves' guild, but have become distrustful of Miette; when One accidentally bursts in and shows his strength while they are planning a heist, they hire him to help the children steal a large, heavy safe. The safe is successfully stolen but then lost into the harbour when One is distracted by a sign of Denree's kidnappers; the Octopus then believes Miette has been holding out on them and has deserted to help One. They employ circus performer Marcello (Jean-Claude Dreyfus), who was their former boss and possible captor but is now apparently in their debt, to return One to them, and much to his own distaste he allows Miette to drown while rescuing One from the cult (who have captured Miette and One attempting to rescue Denree, and plan to execute them both by drowning them in the harbour) using a system of mind control involving trained fleas, a special serum, and a music box.

And the big guy is American actor, Ron Perlman.


  • That's it! Thanks @Niall C., so it was Hellboy as the big dude, I think he was actually speaking French, very impressive. – zer00ne Aug 15 '15 at 1:31
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    Phonetically, according to some accounts. He didn't actually understand what he was saying, but recited the syllables they gave him. Given Ron Perlman is notoriously mealy-mouthed in even his native language, it worked. – FuzzyBoots Aug 15 '15 at 2:06

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