Engine! We enter the life of Michel Houellebecq. The air dull, the conversation weary, recovered from everything, no longer seeming surprised by anything, the writer plays at being himself. He doesn’t have to force himself. He is a character without taboos. We find him on a Parisian sidewalk, his wheeled suitcase in hand, waiting for a taxi to the airport. He is going to the West Indies to present a book, he said to the driver who recognized him. Luc, a lymphatic and bearded colossus, joins him. Friend, bodyguard? A white limousine awaits them upon arrival. She will never leave them again.

In the Skin of Blanche Houellebecq is a road movie. The heroes are broken down, the air conditioning is on “vacation”. The driver makes fun of his sweaty passengers. It will teach them to be white oppressors. A scent of anti-colonialism floats in the humid air. The natives express themselves in Creole on purpose. Houellebecq poses in a white bathrobe – panther skin collar – at the edge of the hotel swimming pool. He almost drowns: “Actually, I don’t know how to swim.” “You have a body more in the tertiary sector,” Blanche Gardin reassures him. The comedian plays herself: two rebels on the ropes. She came to chair a jury of Michel Houellebecq lookalikes. The plot becomes clearer, so to speak.

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The author of Plateforme listens to the irascible comedian lecturing him after his controversial interview with Michel Onfray. He spoke ill of Islam. All this bores him. She advises him to keep quiet. They’re trying a powerful hallucinogen. Things are getting confusing. Luke settles accounts; they are bloody. Blanche and Michel find themselves bound by handcuffs. A journalist questions him. He must decide on parity, slavery, colonialism. That’s a lot: “We could expand to include black women,” he grumbles. All eyes turn towards him. There is a big white one.

The situation is incredible, the dialogues mind-blowing. In the best moments, we sail towards Audiard. There are downturns, a crazy side, struggling supporting roles. If we stay on the sidelines, we will not fully appreciate this punk epic. Otherwise we laugh out loud; but without splinters. It’s forbidden.

In the Skin of Blanche Houellebecq is a contemporary, hilarious, self-deprecating fable about the duty of silence. We can’t say anything anymore. The lookalikes parade on a podium. Luc had his braids done: it smacks of cultural appropriation. Blanche Gardin gets angry: “Why do you call us little white people? We don’t call you the big black guy!” She can’t believe that she is being accused of all the evils even though she is on the left. This is the subliminal questioning of Guillaume Nicloux. Where is this world going in which the moral left has lost its impunity? Michel Houellebecq seems to have chosen the only obvious path: to no longer speak. At the end, everyone meets up for a scuba diving session. Houellebecq – who has regained his speech – asks if he can keep his socks on. Be careful, deep film.