- Extension du domaine de la lutte
"Extension du domaine de la lutte", in English 'broadening of the struggle' , is the debut novel of French writer,
Michel Houellebecq, which was published in 1994, and later made into a 1999 film directed by and starring Philippe Harel.
It is a story of a depressed, isolated man stuck in a tedious but well-paying programming job.
The protagonist (Harel), known only as Our Hero during the entirety of the film, is solitary and has not had sex for over two years. Within most of the book and film versions of "Extension du domaine de la lutte", Our Hero draws on recollections of Schopenhauer and Kant to lambaste the commodification of human contact, punctuating his inner monologue with bouts of nausea and onanism. He is wracked by the implications of decisions that would seem minor to the average person, such as disclosing his lack of a sex life through the purchase of a single bed. He is teamed up with a disturbing, desperate 28-year-old virgin, Raphael Tisserand (José Garcia) to deliver a series of seminars on the use of IT. Raphael looks up to Our Hero for ever having been able to hold down a relationship, and listens to his musings on love with tragic, but ultimately inspirational consequences.
Some consider Extension to be semi-autobiographical in nature, since Houellebecq has openly admitted to having had long bouts of severe
clinical depression. However, both the novel and the film exploit narrative and dialogue in a way that distances Our Hero's thoughts on life from any position attributable to the author.
Translated into English, "Extension du domaine de la lutte" has been called the more succinct "Whatever". Although this word does not relate to the original French title, it connects to the protagonist's
defeatistview of life. The struggle of the original title is expressly associated with class struggle in a parody of slogans made popular by the Parisian student movement of 1968, which Our Hero extends to sexual, as well as economic antagonism.
* [http://www.allocine.fr/film/fichefilm_gen_cfilm=20496.html Information and links to critics' views of the film]
* [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0211359/ IMDB page]
* [http://www.fluctuat.net/livres/paris99/chroniq/Xtension.htm Review of the book]
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