September 16th 2011. The TV news networks, newspapers, blogs, websites and radio stations are all reporting on one story: star author Michel Houellebecq, winner of the prestigious Prix Goncourt in 2010, has been abducted. For the next few days, the news ripples through literary circles and members of the press, feeding buzz and speculation. A brazen kidnapping? An identity crisis? A plan to escape abroad? A schizophrenic delirium? Partly based on real-life events, blurring the line between fiction and documentary and starring Michel Houellebecq himself, this dark comedy reveals what really happened to the author...
Remarkable and quirky tale
- The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq review by NH
This film has proved to be an unexpected delight, both surreal and yet very engaging. The characters, including our hero, are very well chosen. I constantly presumed that MH would suffer some hurt, but he emerges unscathed and unruffled from an ordeal that would otherwise have proved the undoing of most people. We need to see more of him!
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Well, here's a funny thing...
- The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq review by fm
Bit of a challenge to articulate just what makes this one so enjoyable. On the face of it it is simply a situation (kidnappers talking to captive) and little else. The Big Idea is that Houllebecq plays himself but even that hardly guarantees success. But make no mistake, this film is inventive, amusing and thoughtful. Early on M.H. wanders around his neighbourhood having snippets of conversation. But this is mere scene-setting. Soon he has been collected and removed to a comfortable suburban home where the three heavies await their €20,000. The comedy derives from the Stockholm Syndrome relationship between MH the heavies, the two old houseowners and a local tart. MH is delightful : constantly requesting ciggies and wine and, his idée fixe, a cigarette lighter. The high point for me is when a conversation with one of the heavies suddenly considers literary technique and aesthetics. M H holds firm to his opinion that the rules of prosody liberate the poet . "Surely alexandrines are constraining? " the criminal urges Delightful. Only the French could deliver that and do so with dry,dry humour.NOT SPOILER: the writers show little interest in identifying Mr Big who is funding the heman heist-- but it isn't François Hollande!