Chew's Reviews - NON-FICTION

By Gary Chew |  

My turntable is circulating Django and Stéphane with the 1937 edition of the Hot Club of Paris. Every track seems to egg me on to say something about this new Olivier Assayas film that will likely draw today's hip, tech-savvy young folk; but not so much, oldsters who still enjoy, uh … books. You know, avec des histoires à lire?

Must keep it in English. But Assayas's picture is totally French all the way. Here's the cast: Juliette Binoche, Guillaume Canet, Vincent Macaigne, Christa Théret and Nora Hamzawi. For me, Binoche is the only familiar face in this crowd of “Parisians.” She starred in Assayas's fine 2014 movie, CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA with Kristen Stewart. Good stuff. More recently, Assayas came out with the slightly creepy PERSONAL SHOPPER starring Stewart (On Netflix now).

NON-FICTION, in terms of being “French predictable.” is just as much so as the myriad action/hero clunkers are to fathom, and arriving every Friday here in my city of residence. Translated: that means NON-FICTION is une bouffée d'air frais … if you don't mind your “air” being rather inconsequential.

Book publisher (Canet) is weary of marketing his author friend's (Macaigne) slightly mundane and, like, totally autobiographical novels that, some say, relate to secret affairs the writer has had; not so much with his own wife (Hamzawi) but the publisher's spouse, Selena. That's Binoche, who usually shows up in her films une peu promiscuité. (Femme chanceuse.)

Selena, like our real Binoche, is a famous screen star currently doing the role of a heroine cop in an American-style but all French TV series. She's really a dead shot, especially when villains are in the room and she's dressed tout en noir. (A dark-haired Agent Scully?)

Conversations come close to boring if you're not listening closely or hurriedly scanning the sub-titles, since most of them are about the death of literature in the digital age of communication … in its every form. It's like society is pressing the delete key for antiquated symbols that once inked a page. Maybe everything is up to date in The City Of Light.

Politics edge in a bit from the Left since the writer's wife is an important aide-de-camp for a harried French compagnon of hers: the politician is doing the right thing, not merely flexing his Socialist narcissism.

NON-FICTION has such an authentic feel to it. Scenes are set in real venues or out-of-doors in natural habitat. The weather was slightly chilly when some of the shoot took place. Occasionally, tiny wafts of an actor's breath visually emit along with the sound of speech.

No bad actors in this lightly humorous and wildly cynical, smart piece of cinema concerning citizens of the French intelligentsia. Think fast … think deep.

Didn't I say NON-FICTION is predictable? But in such a different way alongside all the routine super-hero action romps. Ennuyeuse.

Please let me say, though, NON-FICTION is not wholly predictable. It's closure comes out of the “sacre-bleu.” So it will be up to you to decide how effective this film has been when it comes FULL STOP.

Oh oui, FULL STOP: one of the insipid titles the mediocre author believes might be his best work.

 Copyright © 2019 by Gary Chew. All rights reserved.


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