Ne Change Rien

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Like many French starlets, Jeanne Balibar spends her off-hours moonlighting as a singer. (Is there some sort of mandate that requires Gallic divas to do community service as lazy-voiced chanteuses?) While fans of both the Duchess of Langeais actor and the sort of breathy, beats-inflected torch songs that she performs with perfect world-weary poise will appreciate this behind-le-scenes peek the most, the film isn’t just a valentine. Rather, in interspersing spare performance footage with shots of Balibar and band laboring over vocal tracks (“Da da da-dadd-dee dum...da dum... Sorry, I messed up”) and fussing over Curtis Mayfield samples, director Pedro Costa has created an elliptical ode to the creative process. This may be the most spectral music doc ever created, as the Portuguese auteur works his long-take mojo to maximum trancelike effect and films every scene in netherworldly shadows. But it’s arguably also the most dedicated look at the blood, sweat and frustrated sighs that go into making such endeavors look seem easy. Thursday, Oct 8 at 6pm.—David Fear

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New York Film Festival 2009

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