“In the shoes of Blanche Houellebecq”: a colorful gallery of lost characters


The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq (2014) and Thalasso (2019) transformed our national writer into what he undoubtedly already was: a fictional character. With In the Skin of Blanche Houellebecq , what appears today as a trilogy around the novelist, it is less a question of forcing him into a film than of letting the fiction be contaminated by him, until that it in turn becomes Houellebecquian: amorphous story, places without qualities, gallery of lost characters (actor Luc Schwarz in the lead) give its charm to this series of films, which constantly tickles the border between fiction and documentary.

In the Skin of Blanche Houellebecq extends and concludes the tribulations of the writer: after his kidnapping and a stay in Thalasso with Depardieu, Houellebecq is this time invited to Guadeloupe where a lookalike competition is held dedicated to him, chaired by by comedian Blanche Gardin. We kind of dreamed of these two meeting: the same depression in their eyes, the same indolent comedy. Both take on iconic status through a very French way of being in the world.

The bringing together of these two bodies is enough to provoke a visual comedy, the evidence of a strangely moving cinema duo. As always, Guillaume Nicloux organizes fiction based on raw material, the aura of these two artists and the reserve of absurd situations that their personalities inspire.

Portrait of Guadeloupe

It is in a leopard-print bathrobe that Gardin dares to address the novelist’s obsession with Islam, giving him wise advice: “Stop giving interviews, you are a fabulous writer, write books and shut your mouth . » Their interactions alone are enough to make the film work, Guillaume Nicloux knows this and organizes the emergence of their outbursts: he only discloses the content of the sequences and dialogues to a few actors, leaving plenty of room for improvisation and confidences. , to errors.

Michel Houellebecq and Blanche Gardin are used less as a totem than as a principle of chaos, which brings forth from the ground a parade of characters and events: a homosexual romance in a car, strange murders, a drug story, a lack of air conditioning which drives you crazy, a wonderfully distressing competition of lookalikes, natives reminding the whites of the metropolis of their hypocrisy – it is also a portrait of Guadeloupe which stands, between the chlordecone scandal and the return of the colonial repressed.

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