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To Stay Alive: A Method (2016)

Based on Michel Houellebecq's 1991 essay "To Stay Alive", about struggling artists, the role of the poet, and mental health problems. Featuring marginal artists as well as Houellebecq and Iggy Pop.
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Anne Claire Bourdin Anne Claire Bourdin ... Anne Claire
Jérôme Tessier Jérôme Tessier ... Jérôme
Robert Combas Robert Combas ... Robert
Michel Houellebecq ... Vincent
Iggy Pop ... Iggy / Narrator
Joseph d'Angelo Joseph d'Angelo ... Himself - Psychiatrist
Jean-Paul Bourdin Jean-Paul Bourdin ... Himself
Danielle Bourdin Danielle Bourdin ... Herself
Julien Bourdin Julien Bourdin ... Himself
Jasmijn Haak Wegmann Jasmijn Haak Wegmann ... Sylvie
Peter Haak Wegmann Peter Haak Wegmann ... Marc's Father
Thomas Haak Wegmann Thomas Haak Wegmann ... Marc
Brecht Hekkema Brecht Hekkema ... Michel
Alexander Bont Alexander Bont ... Patrice
Rose Mes Rose Mes ... Henri's Mother


Michel Houellebecq and Iggy Pop first met in 2009 after having admired each other's works for a long time. Houellebecq been a big fan of The Stooges since he was a teenager and Pop ended up recording two albums in French as a consequence of his encounter with Houellebecq. The director Erik Lieshout had first met Houellebecq when he interviewed him for Dutch television during the promotion of the novel "The Possibility of an Island", and ended up directing "Last Words", a behind-the-scenes documentary for Houellebecq's own film adaptation of the novel. Written by Ulf Kjell Gür

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Official Sites:

producer's website




English | French

Release Date:

30 September 2016 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

A Feel Good Movie About Suffering See more »

Filming Locations:

Paris, France See more »


Box Office


EUR308,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


At the beginning of the film, the five artists are introduced to us with a caption indicating their first name and their age. All of them are introduced by their real first name, except for Michel Houellebecq's character, who is introduced as "Vincent (53)". Later into the film, it's revealed by the name plate at his front door that his family name is "Greilsamer". "Vincent Greilsamer" is a character (who is an artist) from Michel Houellebecq's 2005 novel "The Possibility of an Island". Robert Combas is introduced at the start of the film as "Robert (49)". However, in reality Robert Combas was actually not 49, but 59 years old at the release of this film. See more »


[last lines]
Iggy: Poets, attack!
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Crazy Credits

The closing credits end with the phrase:

'A dead poet does not write' See more »


I want to go to the beach
by Iggy Pop
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User Reviews

Awakening, and invigorating.
23 July 2019 | by mitchandcarySee all my reviews

A thought-provoking, mindful, and philosophical view into the creative mind, through the blurred filters of created realities, imagined identities, and stark clarity. This is a wondrous painting, created with words, poetry, emotion, and imagery.

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