Michel Houllebecq was authorized on appeal to watch a film X in which he plays before its broadcast, and may oppose certain images. However, the judges, like a court of first instance in March, rejected the 67-year-old author's request to block the release of filmmaker Stefan Ruitenbeek's film Kirac 27.
The writer has been trying for months to ban the images shot at the end of 2022 by the Dutch director, claiming to have been trapped when he wanted not to be recognizable.
The Amsterdam court ruled on appeal that Michel Houellebecq's fears that the Dutchman did not respect part of the agreement defining "a game between fact and fiction", according to which the film must create the illusion of erotic scenes with a lookalike, were justified.
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The court pointed to an interview with Stefan Ruitenbeek given to the news site Vice in February, in which he said that the Frenchman was "really good in bed", which "presents in particular as a fact" that he participated in the filmed scenes.
The judges therefore ordered the Kirac collective to share the film with the writer "four weeks before its scheduled broadcast". If Michel Houellebecq raises objections and the filmmaker refuses to adjust the film, he can again go to court.
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The collective to which Ruitenbeek belongs, will have to pay a fine of 25,000 euros if it does not respect this judgment. Scheduled for May 26, the broadcast of the film Kirac 27 should be postponed. The trailer, in which the writer appeared shirtless kissing a young woman in bed, has already been removed.
"It is right that the images must first be shown to the client," said the writer's Dutch lawyer, Jacqueline Schaap. This allows him to "oppose certain images", she added in an email to AFP, adding that the author of The Map and the Territory is "very happy".
The court, however, rejected the writer's arguments that the contract was unlawful because he was depressed and had been drinking at the time of signing, but acknowledged that the sensational images could damage his reputation. The Paris judicial court, considering itself incompetent, had rejected in February Houellebecq his request to ban the film.
The French novelist will publish on May 24 an account of his setbacks with the Dutch filmmaker in a book of 112 pages, according to Flammarion editions. A book entitled A Few Months in My Life...