IDFA - To Stay Alive - A Method

Iggy Pop reads from Michel Houellebecq’s essay on insanity, survival and art, in which Pop recognizes his own struggle as a young artist.

From his sundrenched garden in Miami, Iggy Pop reads from Michel Houellebecq’s “To Stay Alive.” In 1991, Houellebecq wrote this thought-provoking essay on insanity, survival and art, describing it as “a weak but clear signal to those on the point of giving up.” Houellebecq urges poets who are weary of life to “return to the origin; that is, to suffering.” A poet should put his finger on society’s wounds and press down hard, he says. “Be abject, and you will be true.”

Directors Erik Lieshout, Arno Hagers and Reinier van Brummelen film Houellebecq in his grandparents’ kitchen and visits the people with psychiatric disorders whose life stories inspired the essay. Reading the work, Iggy Pop immediately recognized his own struggle as a young artist, when he too was close to insanity. Pop speaks to us directly through Houellebecq’s defiant, impassioned words, which call on us to break our chains and go on the attack, even if solitude is the price we pay for it.

(idfa)