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Thesp Jeanne Balibar pursues her second career as chantoosie in Pedro Costa’s “Ne change rien,” an expectedly arty, uninspiring docu best appreciated by the helmer’s devotees and fans of indie musician Rodolphe Burger. Focusing on rehearsals, recording sessions and performances, Costa locks his camera on frequently beautiful images, but this static conception bars the viewer from entering the performers’ space, despite some intense closeups. That plus Balibar’s usual projection of detachment means the docu will best win adherents on ancillary, through CD pairings.

Locations shift between a Parisian studio and a Tokyo cafe, though Costa offers no exposition. Unfortunately, the songs — with openers such as “You’re torturing me” or “Pain in vain” — are generally of the music-to-slit-your-wrists-by variety, rarely catchy enough in dissected form to sustain the maddening repetitions. On ballads, Balibar’s voice has a breathy, sensual quality, but she has neither the training nor the pipes to tackle Offenbach’s “La Perichole.” Visuals can be striking, occasionally abstract, the screen filled with blacks offset by sharp white points or lines. Auds will have the urge to flick on a switch, but then it wouldn’t be “Art.”

Ne change rien

Portugal-France

  • Production: A Shellac (in France) release of a Sociedade Optica Tecnica (Portugal)/Red Star Cinema (France) production, in association with Cinematrix. (International sales: Red Star Cinema, Paris.) Produced by Abel Ribeiro Chaves, Maria de Lurdes Oliveira. Coproducers, Sebastien de Fonseca, Cedric Walter. Directed by Pedro Costa.
  • Crew: Camera (B&W), Costa; editor, Patricia Saramago; music, Rodolphe Burger, Jacques Offenbach. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Directors' Fortnight), May 15, 2009. French dialogue. Running time: 103 MIN.
  • With: <b>With: </b>Jeanne Balibar, Rodolphe Burger, Herve Loos, Arnaud Dieterlen, Marco de Oliveira, Joel Theux, Fred Cacheux, Francois Loriquet, Vincent Leterme, Francoise Rondeleux.
  • Music By: