For bibliophiles, Olivier Assayas’ new film is more aetiology than entertainment – despite its blithe marketing to the contrary. Aspiring novelists beware. Non-Fiction should have trigger warnings: TW: Declining Readership. TW: Dwindling Book Sales. TW: The End is Nigh. It should almost be marketed as a horror film; one with a villainous e-book rearing its garishly lit screen to send shivers down its book-buying patrons.
Non-Fiction would spark greater urgency had the CT scan it delivers on publishing’s impending demise been released ten years ago when words like “democratization”, “digitalization” and “the internet” became the stuff of op-eds and Twitter threads, and who knows how many in-house reviews. However, stable, seems to be the reading of publishing’s condition in 2019 – though who knows what the roaring twenties will hold?
In Non-Fiction, publisher Alain (Guillaume Canet) oversees the running of a revered Parisian publishing house and is married to Selena (Juliette Binoche), an actress. Both are approaching middle age and uncertain of the future: Alain of publishing; Selena of a fourth season of her crime drama “Collussion”. What Alain is not uncertain of is whether or not he will publish his friend’s new novel, “Full Stop”. Léonard (Vincent Macaigne) is the author of autofiction that recounts, in graphic detail, his sexual liaisons with women other than his wife