In September 2011, while supposedly on the promotional tour for his novel ‘The Map and the Territory’, writer Michel Houellebecq briefly disappeared off the face of the earth. Wild rumours began circulating on the Internet that he’d been abducted by Al-Qaeda or aliens from outer space. Some Twitter users even expressed relief that the controversial author was suddenly no longer around. This film now reveals what really happened: Three tough guys variously with impressive hairstyles and bodybuilder physiques carried off the star intellectual (Houellebecq playing himself), taking him out of the daily stress of dodging autograph hunters and having his flat renovated – whatever happens, no Scandinavian design! – and bringing him to a beautiful rural underdog idyll, full of dog grooming, bodybuilding demonstrations, junk cars and Polish sausages. But who was to pay the ransom? François Hollande, maybe? It’s Michel’s birthday, which is celebrated with copious alcohol and a surprise named ‘Fatima’. And for the occasion, the kidnappers finally put on masks. The chain-smoking Houellebecq can relax: as he and every crime fiction fan knows, it’s only unmasked kidnappers that spell trouble.
by Guillaume Nicloux
with Michel Houellebecq, Mathieu Nicourt, Maxime Lefrançois, Françoise Lebrun