(The Hague) World-renowned French novelist Michel Houellebecq has been granted permission on appeal to view an erotic film in which he stars before its broadcast, and may object to certain images.

However, the judges, like a lower court in March, rejected the 67-year-old author’s request to block the release of Dutch filmmaker Stefan Ruitenbeek’s film Kirac 27.

The writer has been trying for months to have the images shot at the end of 2022 by Mr. Ruitenbeek banned, claiming to have been tricked when he wanted not to be recognizable.

The Amsterdam court found on appeal justified Mr. Houellebecq’s fears that the Dutchman did not respect part of the agreement defining “a game between reality and fiction”, according to which the film must create the illusion of erotic scenes with a doppelganger.

The court pointed to an interview Mr. Ruitenbeek gave to the Vice news site in February, in which he said the Frenchman was “really good in bed”, which “particularly presents as a fact” that he participated to the scenes.

The judges therefore ordered the Kirac collective to share the film with the writer “four weeks before its scheduled broadcast”. If Mr. Houellebecq objects and the filmmaker refuses to adjust the film, he can go to court again.

The collective to which Mr. Ruitenbeek belongs will have to pay a fine of 25,000 euros ($37,000) if it does not respect this judgment. Scheduled for May 26, the broadcast of the film Kirac 27 should be postponed.

The trailer, in which the writer appeared shirtless kissing a young woman in a bed, has already been removed.

“It’s only right that the images should first be shown to the client,” praised the writer’s Dutch lawyer, Jacqueline Schaap.

This allows her to “oppose certain images”, she added in an email to AFP, specifying that the author of The map and the territory is “very happy”.

The court rejected the writer’s arguments that the contract was wrongful because he was depressed and drunk when signing, but acknowledged that the sensational images could damage his reputation.

The Paris court, considering itself incompetent, had in February dismissed Mr. Houellebecq’s request to have the film banned.

The French novelist will publish on May 24 an account of his setbacks with the Dutch filmmaker in a 112-page book, according to Flammarion editions.

Michel Houellebecq is a very influential French writer, recognized for his quality of observation of the individualistic excesses of Western societies. But it is also controversial because of positions deemed racist and Islamophobic.