Le Figaro, 2023-03-28

Film pornographique : après avoir perdu son procès aux Pays-Bas, Houellebecq fait appel

Eloi Passot, Le Figaro, 2023 March 28

Translation to English

Pornographic film: after losing his trial in the Netherlands, Houellebecq appeals

INFO LE FIGARO – The Dutch justice refused Tuesday to ban the film in which Michel Houellebecq appears.

Michel Houellebecq has not said his last word. After the rejection by the Dutch justice to ban the erotic film in which he appears, the famous writer has decided to appeal. “Michel Houellebecq has decided to appeal, we filed this morning a request for summary appeal,” said his lawyer, Jacqueline Schaap, who had described the verdict as “very disappointing.

After the publication of a trailer, in which he was seen, in bed, in the arms of a young woman, the famous writer, once considered for the Nobel Prize, had initiated proceedings to prevent the distribution of the complete film. The author of The Map and the Territory explained that he had agreed to play in the film by signing a contract, “on condition that [his] anonymity be preserved”. Condition that the director did not, according to him, respected.

An “unequal” and “inadmissible” contract, but not “invalid
The court finally ruled that the contract signed by the writer “is unbalanced but not invalid”, explains Maître Schaap. It was “one of the most unequal and unconscionable contracts I have ever seen.” After Houellebecq terminated the contract in March, the lawyer tried to argue that “there is no longer any authorization to use the images in which Michel Houellebecq is filmed.

For his part, the director claimed that Michel Houellebecq had given his consent in full knowledge of the facts to be filmed. This is “a form of censorship”, said his lawyer, Christiaan Alberdingk Thijm, who argued that “as a writer, Michel Houellebecq has a great experience of contracts and he was not entitled to cancel it. These arguments were obviously heard by the judges, to the great displeasure of the writer, already worried recently following his remarks on Muslims, made during a discussion with Michel Onfray for the magazine Front Populaire.