Jeanne Balibar first distinguished herself on the stage in France's Festival d'Avignon, an annual performing arts event. But it was her first film role, in noted French director Arnaud Desplechin's thriller "La Sentinelle", that launched Balibar's career in independent European film. In 1996, she collaborated a second time with Desplechin in the romantic comedy "My Sex Life... or How I Got Into an Argument", also starring Balibar's future husband, actor/director Mathieu Amalric. This time, Balibar played a larger supporting role and was even nominated as Most Promising Actress in France's César awards; it would be the first of many nominations. Not long after, she teamed up with Amalric again in Olivier Assayas' adult coming-of-age drama "Late August, Early September", playing the secondary female lead character, Jenny. Balibar would continue holding supporting roles in heavy emotional dramas and, occasionally, thrillers. Most notably, she collaborated once again with Assayas in "Clean", about a former junkie trying to regain control of her life. In 2003, Balibar played Tim Robbins' girlfriend in the British sci-fi thriller "Code 46". The same year, Balibar took a starring role in "All the Fine Promises", one of the most distinguished films from French New Wave director Jean-Paul Civeyrac. In it, Balibar's character deals with heavy emotional subjects once again--coping with her mother's death, a romantic break-up, and a family scandal.