L’ENLEVEMENT DE MICHEL HOUELLEBECQ / THE KIDNAPPING OF MICHEL HOUELLEBECQ

SYNOPSIS
Michel Houellebecq, perhaps France’s most popular, and controversial,
contemporary author, plays a version of himself—as do all the other
characters—in Guillaume Nicloux’s absorbing comic docu-fiction. The
film was inspired by a real-life incident: After Houellebecq failed to show
up for several scheduled appearances on a 2011 book tour, some media
outlets began to wonder whether he’d been abducted, perhaps even
by Al Qaeda. This hysterical speculation was soon put to rest, however,
when the writer eventually resurfaced. But Nicloux has great fun with
the conceit, imagining that Houellebecq was snatched not by terrorists
but by three incompetent criminals who include a bodybuilder, Max
(Maxime Lefrançois), and a professional MMA fighter, Mathieu (Mathieu
Nicourt). These musclemen, led by Luc (Luc Schwarz), seize the seemingly
imperturbable Houellebecq from his high-rise apartment building in
Paris, stuff him in a ventilated metal cage, and take him to the home of
Luc’s parents in the country. The ringleader and his associates turn out
to be quite hospitable captors, plying their hostage with food, wine, and
cigarettes, and eager to engage with Houellebecq—quite amusingly
sending up his notorious persona—about a host of literary topics.

“Top Ten List for 2014. My favorite writer is now a movie star, and he’s great playing
himself in a literary whodunit that revisits his supposedly factual but still vague and
unexplained book-tour kidnaping. Did it really happen, or was Houellebecq just
drunk? Who knows? Who cares? I do, a lot.”

—John Waters, Artforum

DIRECTOR
Guillaume Nicloux

SCREENPLAY
Guillaume Nicloux

CAST
Michel Houellebecq
Maxime Lefrançois
Mathieu Nicourt
Luc Schwarz

GENRE Comedy / Drama
LANGUAGE French
RUNNING TIME 93’
PRODUCTION France, 2014
RATING Not Rated
FORMAT(S) Blu-Ray, DCP, DVD

DISTRIBUTOR
Kino Lorber