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"The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq" Winner Best Screenplay TFF

TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL 2014:

Special Jury Mention: The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq/”L’enlèvement de Michel Houellebecq” directed by Guillaume Nicloux (France). The announcement was made by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal.

Best Screenplay –”The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq”, written and directed by Guillaume Nicloux (France). Winner receives $5,000 sponsored by DreamWorks Animation. The award was given by Bart Freundlich.

Jury Comments: “This screenwriter put a bodybuilder, a gypsy, a prostitute, and a world renowned poet in handcuffs at a dinner table and made it feel right. When a film’s language feels so natural as to make the viewer completely forget that a screenplay was written, the writer deserves special acknowledgement.”

Award winning author, filmmaker, and poet, Michel Houllebecq, went missing on September 16, 2011. So began the controversy about this controversial writer. Was it a kidnapping? Was he delusional? Was it planned? You may ask, ‘How can this be a comedy?’

This comedy/drama began with Michel (played by himself), as an older, mellow writer walking around town, running errands and nonchalantly chatting with his neighbors. As he stepped off the elevator to open his apartment door, three large men followed him inside, put tape over his mouth, asked him to hold up the front page of the newspaper, took a polaroid photo of him, and transported him about an hour away to a French suburb.

When he got to their house, he found himself handcuffed to a bed, and hesitant to call for help to tend to his basic needs, ie. to smoke, use the bathroom and read. Flabbergasted, he quickly learned that the kidnappers were being extremely nice to him. Catering to his every need, they invited him to eat with them at the dinner table, to smoke cigarettes, hold conversations together, and even celebrate birthday parties wearing fun party masks. Showing their faces, they admitted to Michel who they were and why they did what they did. One admitted to being a gypsy, another, a body builder, another, a call girl, and then there was the older married Polish couple whose house it was. Patiently awaiting ransom money from the President of France, Francois Hollande, they just hang around.

Do they get the ransom money? Does Michel get freed?

Article by Sharon Abella

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One World Cinema