Is the publishing industry at a tipping point wherein digital will eventually turn its offline counterpart moribund? Does the convenience of Kindle outweigh the satisfaction of reading physical books? Can blogging be taken as seriously as writing, or is Twitter akin to modern-day Haiku? The quintessentially self-conscious, opinionated, articulate and casually philandering world of Parisian intellectuals formed the setting for Assayas’ Non-Fiction, a amusing, warm-hearted, playful and Rohmer-esque verbose chamber comedy-drama filled with restrained charm, deadpan humour, cheeky meta-elements and self-deprecatory zeitgeist. The film’s plot comprised of existential dilemmas, intellectual musings and interconnected extra-marital relationships of 5 characters – Alain (Guillaume Canet), the well-known chief executive of an influential publishing house who’s initiated strong steps of going digital, despite being deeply ambivalent about it at a personal level; his wife Selena (Juliette Binoche), a middle-aged actress who wants to get off the policier TV series she’s in which is more suited to binge watching over NetFlix and do something more meaningful in-sync with her real-life personal; Leonard (Vincent Macaigne), a talented writer of thinly veiled autobiographies masquerading as fiction, or auto-fiction, on his ex-relationships which many finds scandalous and even dishonest; Leonard’s wife Valerie (Nora Hamzawi), a passionate if didactic political strategist whose leftist naiveté contrasts others’ cynicism; and Laura (Christa Théret), an ambitious millennial who’s leading the digital transition of Alain’s firm; meanwhile, the straight-faced façade of stable marriages is counterpointed with Leonard’s and Alain’s affairs with Selena and Laura, respectively, though, ironically, there’re always casual suspicions which never really boil over. The brilliantly enacted and scripted film’s most engrossing aspect lay in its tongue-in-cheek juxtaposition of seemingly opposing themes – permanence vis-à-vis transience, conservatism vis-à-vis progressiveness, analogue vis-à-vis technology.
Director: Olivier Assayas
Genre: Social Satire/Marital Drama/Romantic Comedy