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Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq

Guillaume Nicloux
L’enlèvement de Michel Houellebecq
France 2014 / 92’

The story about the kidnapping of the French celebrity author is a completely fictitious and absurd mockumentary as well as a fabricated self-portrait. Michel H. is played by Michel H., patently showing off his exceptional lack of charisma and famed look of a homeless transient. In a crumpled windbreaker, unshaven and with a cigarette glued to his lips, he looks like a parody of himself. The film’s starting point is Houellebecq’s mysterious disappearance during the book tour for his novel The Map and the Territory, when he didn’t show up for meetings with Belgian readers. Speculations included kidnappings by Al-Qaeda for his islamophobic statements. Guillaume Nicloux’s film suggests another version of events: the writer was packed into a huge metal trunk and taken to a country house by three brothers or Polish origin. The exasperating guest – hysterical, permanently drunk and asking for hookers – treats the hosts with impertinence. The kidnapping turns into a freakish weekend in the country while the film veers off action film tracks into ironic provocation.

Ewa Szabłowska

Guillaume Nicloux

Born in Melun, France in 1966, worked as a director and actor in Parisian theatre. He made his first short film L'Orage in 1987 and his feature debut La Piste aux étoiles in 1988. In 1990 he made his second feature Les Enfants volants which screened in the Forum (Berlinale) in 1991. He has lectured for ten years at the Parisian film school La Fémis and currently also works as writer.

Selected filmography

1990 Les Enfants volants / The Flying Children

2001 Prywatne dochodzenie / Une Affaire privée / A Private Affair

2005 Kamienny krąg / Le Concile de pierre / The Stone Council

2010 Holiday

2012 La Religieuse / The Nun

Cast & Crew

director Guillaume Nicloux
screenplay Guillaume Nicloux
cinematography Christophe Offenstein
editing Guy Lecorne
music Olivier Do-Huu, Fanny Weinzaepflen
cast Michel Houellebecq, Mathieu Nicourt, Maxime Lefrançois, Luc Schwarz
producer Sylvie Pialat
production Les Films Du Worso
sales Le Pacte
Polish distributor Gutek Film
language French
colouration colour