The latest film by Olivier Assayas, in U.S. theaters on May 3, offers a peek into the lives of the Parisian bourgeoisie. A satirical comedy carried brilliantly by Juliette Binoche, Guillaume Canet, and Vincent Macaigne.
Presented in competition at the last Mostra de Venise, Non-Fiction tells the story of Alain (Guillaume Canet), a renowned, fortysomething publisher in Paris married to an actress (Juliette Binoche) who stars in a popular television series. His friends include Léonard (Vincent Macaigne), a bohemian writer whose books he publishes, and Léonard’s girlfriend Valérie (Nora Hamzawi), a political advisor. But despite their longstanding friendship, Alain refuses to publish Léonard’s latest manuscript. The relationships between the four characters grow increasingly complicated, and their conjugal and amical “double lives” slowly come to light.
After Personal Shopper, Olivier Assayas’ last feature-length film, this back-and- forth format has given the director another chance to explore how modern means of communication have transformed the way we live. “The digital sector has now become a vector for change, and this transformation pushes us to question convictions rooted in our dearest habits and most essential values. We are all trying to find our new place, and we are all a little overwhelmed,” says the eclectic director, who has spent his entire career experimenting and reinventing himself. “I wanted to make a movie about ideas, while being entirely aware that I ran the risk of being chided, as intellectuals are generally not well received in cinema. But I was not intimidated, as I am curious about theories and ideas, and how they all change the world.” This reflection paid off. Non-Fiction is an intelligent comedy, energetically driven by its dialogues and a talented cast, and is worthy of some of the greatest Woody Allen movies.
U.S. release: May 3, 2019
Running time: 106 min
Director: Olivier Assayas
With: Juliette Binoche, Guillaume Canet, Vincent Macaigne, Nora Hamzawi, Christa Theret
U.S. distributor: Sundance Selects
Article published in the May 2019 issue of France-Amérique