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Non-Fiction (Doubles Vies) ★★★★★

Olivier Assayas’ latest is a pure treat

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Director: Olivier Assayas

Cast: Guillaume Canet, Juliette Binoche, Vincent Macaigne, Nora Hamzawi, Christa Théret and Pascal Greggory

Released: Venice Film Festival 2018

Olivier Assayas is probably one of France’s formidable directors working today. Assayas has had a good string of hits with Personal Shopper and Clouds of Sils Maria over the last few years. He is hoping to continue his streak with Doubles Vies, with Juliette Binoche collaborating with him once more. Assayas has always a poignant message in his work and he now is tackling our human relationships during the digital revolution. So what is Doubles Vies all about you ask? Alain (Guillaume Canet) and Léonard (Vincent Macaigne) , a writer and a publisher, are overwhelmed by the new practices of the publishing world. Deaf to the desires of their wives, they struggle to find their place in a society whose code they can no longer crack.

The fear of an Assayas failure has been eradicated, Doubles Vies is a triumph. Olivier Assayas has to be one of the greatest conversationalist script writers in cinema. He plummets you into the lives of the characters and they won’t let you go for 107 minutes. Assyas challenges you to disagree with his views; the digital revolution is destroying literature and art! The surprising lightness of the tone attacks your senses, then you will ponder what they actually mean by their statements. Assays does tackle relationships in the digital age too. Both couples are having affairs and they forget about each other. Modern technology has become our new mistress and our love lives are suffering because of it Assayas says.

The charm of Doubles Vies is it’s charm. From humorous references to Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon to Star Wars: Force Awakens it will leave you with a grin on your face. The verbal tango of the screenplay asks you to pay attention or you will get lost in it’s deep context. Assayas uses very long takes to let the conversation flow. The audience need to absorb the messages of Doubles Vies. Juliette Binoche isn’t the true stand out of the piece. Vincent Macaigne and Nora Hamzawi steal the show. As a couple they are very relatable and bounce off each other very well. Their trepidations and thoughts will provoke your mind. You could listen to them talk all day. Only Olivier Assyas can challenge you intellectually and make you laugh at the same time. One of his finest films and a pure treat on the Lido.

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