Posts Tagged ‘Charles Gillibert’

Juliette Binoche, Vincent Macaigne

“NON-FICTION” My rating: 

108 minutes | MPAA rating: R

“Non-Fiction” is populated by intellectuals conversing about literature, books, the internet, blogs versus real news and the changing cultural landscape in our electronic world.

All that endless talkiness could be off-putting, except that these characters are French, which means that in addition to being smart and clever and wonderfully jaded, they’re also having affairs all over the place. Nothing like illicit sex to take your mind off the depredations of social media.

“Non-Fiction” was written and directed by Olivier Assayas, whose most recent efforts — “Clouds of Sils Maria” and “Personal Shopper” — were weighty personality studies dabbling in fate and the supernatural.

But this is comedy — or at least what passes for comedy in French highbrow circles. Which is to say that nobody should expect belly laughs.  A whimsical smirk, maybe.

The tone is set in the first scene in which the schlubby writer Leonard (Vincent Macaigne) visits his editor and publisher, Alain (Guillaume Canet). They chat about how the reading public for “serious” novels like Leonard’s is dwindling (“Writing makes people hysterical”) and debate the value of Twitter (“People sharing witticisms…it’s very French…Tweets are modern-day haikus”).

The two men are old acquaintances who can joke about the projects that flopped (“We didn’t kill many trees”). Over lunch they muse aloud about whether real books will be supplanted by electronic delivery systems.

Eventually, as they are parting, Alain announces that his firm won’t be publishing Leonard’s latest manuscript. Leonard, he says, is out of phase with the times.

Next we meet Alain’s wife Selena (Assayas regular Juliette Binoche), an actress starring in a TV police show. She is noncommittal about her husband’s rejection of Leonard’s latest novel. Actually she’s not at all ambivalent, having been Leonard’s secret lover for  years.


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