Favorite New Films: ne change rien

posted by The Joe

I have long thought that digital video should be used to open doors to an all-new style of cinema: one that does not attempt to replicate film that came before it, but one that utilizes its unique look and feel to take the medium in a different direction.

So I have always admired the work of Pedro Costa, and by always, I mean for about a year. Before that, there was little access to his films in the U.S., but thanks to Criterion, his Fountainhas trilogy is now widely available. Taking place mainly in Portuguese slums, Costa’s works joined the ranks of Inland Empire, Bubble, and Bright Future as films that truly embraced this new way to tell stories and showcase style.

And now, here is ne change rien. A documentary of sorts on the fragile, fascinating singer Jeanne Balibar, it is rarely comprised of shots that last quicker than five minutes at a time as she rehearses, performs, and simply hangs out. While there are remnants of Godard’s Sympathy for the Devil, this reminds me of the work of Vincent Moon, and I don’t believe the bold risks involved would have necessarily occurred had it not been for the freedom of digital cinema. This is not just a matter of convenience or money – the look adds wonders to the smoky atmosphere, full of stark contrast black-and-white.

ne change rien has its hook in haunting, beautiful music, yes, but this is truly an example of cinema at its most pure and hypnotic. It plays one more night in Minneapolis at the Trylon Microcinema, next Tuesday, May 10th.


Wednesday, May 4th, 2011 at 2:24 am