Guillaume Nicloux • France • 2014 • Michel Houellebecq was kidnapped. But was he really?
A novelist named Michel Houellebecq sits at a table in Paris, pontificating on a bizarre range of topics. Three men appear and whisk him off to a house in the French countryside without explanation. A strange camaraderie emerges between Houellebecq and his captors—they joke and drink together, and indulge his requests for cigarettes and things to read. The purpose, not to mention the forces behind this abduction, become increasingly unclear.
Wading into the hypotheticals of the real-life 2011 disappearance of perhaps France’s most widely-read writer, The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq is anchored in a magnetic and oddly charismatic performance by Houellebecq himself. Guillaume Nicloux’s film premiered at Berlin, Thessaloniki, Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, and Tribeca, where it won a Jury Award.