I missed Guillaume Nicloux’s film The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq on its release in 2014. What a mistake—it’s a real hoot! Nicloux’s deadpan mock thriller tacks from a rumor that the author had been kidnapped “by Al-Qaeda (or aliens)” during the book tour for his 2010 novel The Map and the Territory. (I watched it on Google Play, which mislabels it a “documentary”—much of it does seem to be improvised, and Houellebecq does seem to be speaking as himself, but credit Nicloux for the devious scenario and execution.) We see Houellebecq’s routine—smoking on the street and bumping into friends, smoking in the park and finding old coins, smoking by the window of his high-rise apartment and composing poetry, smoking at the piano with friends, smoking and drinking wine while dissing Mozart—until it’s interrupted by three thugs who put duct tape over his mouth, pack him into a green metal box, and take him to a small house in the hinterland surrounded by old cars and trucks and assorted junk.