Le Figaro, 2023-03-15

« Houellebecq aime le scandale » : BFMTV enquête autour du film pornographique que cherche à faire interdire l’écrivain

Original in French

Translation to English

“Houellebecq loves scandal”: BFMTV investigates the pornographic film that seeks to ban the writer

VIDEO – In a documentary, the channel met the director at the origin of the controversy. It also wonders about the relationship of the novelist to Islam. A question tarries it: Houellebecq does it really know what it makes?

Even the most faithful Houellebecquiens, those ready to do anything to defend the great pythia of French letters, let escape a cry of surprise. Michel, in an erotic movie! The trailer released on January 24 showed Houellebecq embracing with his long and tired arms a young naked woman.

The French government, which wishes to act to sensitize the youth against the dangers of porn, will not find a more effective campaign. The entire video, entitled Kirac 27, was to be released on March 11. But the author swears that he became an actor at his own expense. So he launched a lawsuit in France, which was dismissed, and continues the fight in the Netherlands. There would have been a breach of drinks, therefore a breach of trust, at the time of signing the contract. The decision will be rendered on March 28, explains Libération .

The teams of “Ligne rouge”, in Houellebecq, le sulfureux, broadcast on March 10 and visible in replay on RMC BFM Play, went to interview the main interested party in the Netherlands. The journalists entered a suburb of Amsterdam, happy to find an atmosphere worthy of a novel by the writer. They were greeted by Jini Jane, a student who sells her charms on the website OnylFans. “His wife wanted me to have sex with him. I was very clear, it’s only possible if it’s filmed as part of a porn movie”, she assures them in the simplest way possible, showing selfies taken with Houellebecq at the jump of the bed. The writer is wearing what she considers his “biggest smile”: a slight sneer. Did he not know he was being filmed? “Impossible”, assures the young woman.

His mother and Islam
“Houellebecq was all down, told in Liberation, in February, in a detailed account, the director of the film, Stefan Ruitenbeek. Then I saw him awaken, reborn, he spoke and made love for three hours in front of my camera. On BFMTV, this good man who presents himself as a libertarian artist, details his ambition: “We wanted to play with the boundaries between reality and fiction as he does in his films.” No doubt he wants to refer to The Abduction by Michel Houellebecq or Thalasso by Guillaume Nicloux. We won’t know much more about the truth behind this funny porn. Has our star been tricked? Or did she not measure the consequences of her thin part and retracted in extremis?

BFMTV changes tack, towards Islam. The journalists evoke the lines that caused the scandal, lately: “I believe that the wish of the French population ‘of stock’, as they say, is not at all that the Muslims assimilate, but simply that they stop robbing and assaulting them,” wrote Houellebecq, at the end of 2022, in the magazine Front populaire. Before taking back his incriminating paragraphs. The documentary wonders if his mother’s anti-colonialist communist militant past, which he hates, has anything to do with his current positions. “He obviously has a detachment from his writings. Is he really aware that they may offend? I do not know, always been for me a question”, confessed on BFMTV, for his part, the rector of the Mosque of Paris. If he agreed to review his comments, Michel Houellebecq has often claimed his right to freedom of expression. And, even, to blasphemy.

According to Emmanuel Pierrat, who was his lawyer, the novelist knows what he is doing. Initially, at least. “He is a great communicator, he may have chosen to become an unsympathetic character, showy at one point (…) He loves scandal, he can not help but launch it, even if the consequences may worry him.” More than twenty years ago, in 2002, Guillaume Durand questioned him in particular about his comments on Islam, which he had called “the dumbest religion.” The author answered: “Do I think so? That, I do not know. It depends on the day…” A report with the author in Pattaya, a mecca of sex tourism in Thailand, later plays back in the documentary. “The conditions are less inhumane here. It’s not that the girls like being whores. But how many people like their job?” we hear the novelist say. This kind of analysis, perhaps more cynical than provocative, finally characterizes him quite well.