Non-Fiction Offers a French Take on the State of Media

Enjoying its Canadian Premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, Non-Fiction explores the state of the media and publishing industries through the eyes of two Parisian couples. French director Olivier Assayas brilliantly analyzes how intellectuals in the publishing industry grapple with the new age of digital communication.

Non-Fiction is a slow-paced dramedy that offers a highly intelligent examination of how technology impacts our daily lives. The story focuses on a group of middle-aged, middle-class French men and women, and how they are affected by the hyperconnected reality of today.

Alain (Guillaume Canet) is a handsome and successful book publisher struggling with both his professional and private life. His relationship with his wife, Serna (Juliette Binoche), seems to have hit a dead end, while he has to deal with one of his long-time authors, who has written a new manuscript and is eager for it to be published. Keen to be cutting edge, Alain’s hiring of a new beautifully ambitious woman as the “head of digital transition,” shows his enthusiastic embrace for a future where social media and digital storytelling is the solution for everything.

Without a doubt Non-Fiction will be a smash hit with intellectuals who work in the every changing media landscape. The film offers a timely and often-hilarious social critique which points out what culture gains and loses when people read less books. During one of the films spirited discussion a famous writer chirps, “more people read my blog than my books!” Another particularly telling moment transpires in the back of a taxi when a publicist remarks to her social media inept author, “Tweets are the modern day Haiku.” Though Non-Fiction’s most stirring moment is when a literary expert describes the local library, “it’s where kids go to read, the homeless stay warm, and elderly go to swap seeds.”

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