Monday, August 18, 2008

Michel Houellebecq's "The Possibility of an Island" Adaptation

1st\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

By Gwladys Fouché\The Guardian

It was the hottest question in French cinema: how would the enfant terrible of Gallic letters fare at adapting his own novel for the big screen? The answer: not at all well.

Michel Houellebecq was determined to film his novel The Possibility of an Island [La Possibilité d’une île ], the parallel story of a stand-up comedian joining a cult and his clone several generations in the future.

He is said to have switched publishers because the move would offer better guarantees he could direct the adaptation himself.

The Possibility of an Island was slaughtered when it premiered at the Locarno film festival in Switzerland at the weekend, with the author apparently playing hide-and-seek with reporters to avoid further embarrassment.

The premiere "turned into a farce," chuckled French daily Le Figaro, describing how critics sneered and laughed before voting with their feet and leaving the cinema. Outside, they hailed the movie "catastrophic", "ridiculous", and damned it as indulging into "bargain-bin philosophising"

Swiss newspaper Le Temps retitled the movie The Possibility of a Shipwreck. Early previews held in Paris were similarly harsh, spreading the word that The Possibility of an Island was the "dud of the season".

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