STUDIES

Posted on October 23, 2019

By Matthew Skala

Non-Fiction

Non-Fiction was shot by Yorick Le Saux and Directed by Olivier Assayas. I usually don’t like non-visual films. In cinema we write with light, not words. Dialog is merely supplemental. So why am I so interested in a film that Rolling Stone Magazine describes as “Talk, Talk, Talk,” while Assayas himself says “this movie’s explicitly nonvisual. And I never saw it as flattering in terms of mise en scène.Both thematically and aesthetically, the evocative duality attracts me. While their action is primarily to be in stillness, there is great turmoil inside each character as they seek refuge in salons, cafes, bedrooms, living rooms and office lounges while indulging in french food, wine, cigarettes, love making and intellectual stimuli. Their conversations run the gamut but most often rest on anxieties over new technological trends in the writing and publishing industry–an allegory on the state of affairs in Assaya’s own industry

With DP Yorick Le Saux, his use of super 16mm and flexible diffused light is a nostalgic homage to the arthouse spirit of French New Wave in the 50’s and 60’s. However, at times it feels out of place–self aware that it’s time to embrace something new. I think Assayas and Le Saux recognized this–in one way or another–and they shot the closing scenes in 35mm amidst the warm embrace of a late day sun.

Looking at Non-Fiction amongst Assayas filmography, it appears to be a very personal film for the director. It’s almost as if he is accounting for his own transition into purely constructive cinema starting with Something in the Air, and fulfilled by Clouds of Sils Maria and Personal Shopper.

Production companies: CG Cinema
U.S. Distributor: Sundance Selects
Writer-director: Olivier Assayas
Cast: Guillaume CanetJuliette BinocheVincent MacaigneChrista TheretNora HamzawiPascal Greggory
Producers: Charles GillibertOlivier Pere
Executive producers: Sylvie Barthet
Director of photography: Yorick Le Saux
Editor: Simon Jacquet
Production designer: Francois-Renaud Labarthe
Casting: Antoinette Boulat

 

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