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La possibilité d'une île

(Possibility of an Island)

North american Premiere

  • France 2008
  • 95 min
  • 35mm
  • French with English subtitles
North American Premiere
Official Competition, Sitges International Film Festival 2008
Official Selection, Locarno International Film Festival 2008

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"[...]une belle démonstration du génie et de l'audace de son auteur" — Gwenael Tison, DVDRAMA


Director: Michel Houellebecq
Screenplay: Michel Houellebecq
Cast: Benoît Magimel, Ramata Koite, Patrick Bauchau, Jean-Pierre Malo
Producers: Eric Altmeyer, Nicolas Altmeyer
Distributor: Celluloid Dreams

Part of...

Vers les étoiles : Cerebral Science Fiction Cinema   

Vers les étoiles : Cerebral Science Fiction Cinema

Screens with...



International Premiere
2009 | 28 min
English language


Daniel has a hard time taking his father very seriously. The old man, leader of a sect that believes the key to immortality lies in cloning, drags his son through the French suburbs in search of potential converts. It doesn’t take too long for Daniel to turn his back on his father and pursue an ordinary life. Many years later, however, he’s invited to reconnect with the prophet he calls dad on a tropical island, where he discovers a laboratory replete with cutting-edge technology and an legion of disciples ready to follow their guru in his ambitious project. Daniel is starting to get concerned—could it be that this bizarre project is on the verge of success? The only one who can truly answer that question is Daniel’s clone, confined to a secretive grotto to protect him from the ravages of the apocalypse, who breaks his solitude by reading the story of the man he replicates while preparing himself to eventually explore the planet as it will be once humanity is extinguished.

With several short films to his credit, it only makes sense that Michel Houellebecq, unquestionably a titanic figure in contemporary literature, should progress to directing his first feature film. He’s chosen to adapt his own most recent novel for his debut directorial bow. Upon its release in France, LA POSSIBILITÉ D’UN ÎLE left critics drastically divided, receiving both rousing accolades and derisive condemnations. And how could it be otherwise, given the reputation for provocation that trails the author of “Les particules élementaires”? With his recurring sense of despair and intensely controversial assertions, Houellebecq has never generated much consensus. Setting aside the cloud of contention that surrounds the scribe, however, we find in his first film an ambitious, eloquent work of existentialist science fiction. Daniel’s evolution amid a sect directly based on the Raëlian movement allows Houellebecq to challenge the notion of joy through eternal life, transporting the viewer to a future world where human emotions themselves risk extinction. Bringing the intellectual rigour of Alain Resnais, the outlandish imagery of Alejandro Jodorowsky and the incisive black humour of his own works together in one film, Houllebecq masterfully evokes the anxieties of our age—and of the age to come.

—Simon Laperrière (translated by Rupert Bottenberg)

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