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Basse Continue

I’ve been watching a whole bunch of concert DVDs, and DVDs included in CD box sets with music videos and stuff lately… (And mostly because I started, and once I start doing something, I just continue.)

This isn’t that, really, but a documentary film about Joëlle Léandre.

So far, it’s my Platonic ideal of a music documentary — we get quite substantial takes from a variety of concerts, and then inbetween we get Léandre talking to the camera about music. And that’s it. No talking heads dropping in with a sentence, no zooming on still photos, no voice overs. I.e., nothing annoying.

OK, we also get shots of Léandre shopping and talking to fans and stuff, but that’s not annoying.

I like the er cinematography here, too — I think it’s just a single camera in every shot? Which makes things quite like being present at a concert, because you can only watch one thing at at time — you can turn your head, just like the camera can pivot, but there’s no… editing.

I would have appreciated if they could, like, pop up some text to say who Léandre is playing with…

The performances are lovely.

As the movie progresses, there’s less talking and more music… which is nice (because the music is enjoyable), but it also feels a bit lopsided?

Léandre was talking about not playing a lot with French musicians… and then this guy was talking about how he had very few gigs in the US (where he’s from)… so is everybody playing in, like, The Netherlands?

It’s a documentary that’s very vague on locations and names.

This comes in a nice cardboard cover…

… and a substantial booklet of paintings by Léandre.

I liked this a lot. If you’re not a fan of Léandre’s music, I suspect it’ll be somewhat of a slog to get through — it’s almost two and a half hours long, and I guess about four fifths of the movie is live (improvised) performances.

So not for everybody, but:

Basse Continue. Christine Baudillon. 2008.

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