Sex Is Comedy (2004)
Film director Jeanne is obsessed with directing a difficult sex scene between her young actress and actor who hate each other. Aided and prodded by her loyal assistant director, Leo, Jeanne is hell-bent on getting it right, without compromise or dishonesty.
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Critic Reviews for Sex Is Comedy
Reminds us what a vulnerable undertaking acting can be, and what an intimate, manipulative, caring and torturous act directing is.
If Breillat's aim is demystifying how passion and desire are simulated on-screen, then Sex Is Comedy is successful.
In Jeanne's world, and Breillat's, filmed sex is no ordinary eye candy. For their characters, it's an admission of a dark, complicated interior life that only the bravest of actors, finally, can expose on screen.
Sex Is Comedy is not sure what it's really about, or how to get there.
Takes an absurdist approach to a sophomoric subject and wrings real laughs from it; a terrific comedy about lust, filmmaking, and the human psyche at its most clandestine.
[H]olds multiple mirrors up to itself, creating a neverending series of reflections and self-referents...
Sex Is Comedy is a lively, frank and often perceptive anatomy of screen acting and directing: insightful, self-mocking and engagingly alive.
An eyes-rolling, forehead-smacking glimpse through the eyes of an artist in her farcical struggle
If you sometimes have the feeling French films are made by the most spoiled and self-involved upper-middle-class twits imaginable, it might be because of such films as Sex Is Comedy.
It feels too self-satisfied, but the prickly personalities and relationships have the ring of experience.
an off-putting egocentrism...permeates [Breillat's] otherwise intriguing discourse on the relationship between directors and actors
Audience Reviews for Sex Is Comedy
A director cajoles, threatens, berates, and befriends her actors in order to get them to perform the perfect sex scene.
The shooting of a sex scene has always been a curiosity for me. To put something so personal and private on screen in front of everyone from one's fellow actors to the Teamsters rep to the gum-chewing, fanny-pack-wearing, high school dropout key grip speaks to what levels of courage actors must have to do such a job. But this film doesn't focus on the actors' journeys but the director's various tactics to get them to do the scene. I can see how this concept might make a good film, but not with this director. Jeanne is a myopic, self-centered bitch, and her little manipulations are thoroughly uninteresting. What is more, I had trouble seeing the real conflict in the film. It's true that the Actor was resisting Jeanne's appeals, but I didn't see any real rebellion like the clear refusal of Sarah Jessica Parker's character in State and Main. The actors in Sex is Comedy seem willing and professional even though they are naturally uncomfortable.
Overall, despite its title, Sex is Comedy isn't funny or particularly insightful, and its focus is on the least interesting and least appealing character in the film.
A movie about making a movie. The director in the film tries everything from cajoling to befriending to get a sex scene correctly played in her film. The last scene of this movie is the filming of that sex scene in the movie. I gotta say, it looks like they got it done right.
But this movie seemed to take too long. I'm sure they could have achieved the same reaction from her audience in a movie half as long as it was.
Disappointing work from French stalwart Breillat? Afraid so. Though highly interesting on paper, the execution of Sex Is Comedy falls well flat. The plot circles around (it might as well be a making of) A Ma Souer, her 2001 emotionally upsetting drama, regarding the difficulty of creating a sex scene between two bickering actors. New names are adopted, but when the actress is re-used, there's no denying the AMS link.
The main concern here is that Catherine is normally in her element delving into psycho-sexuality, but for this project she seems a million miles away. It's not insightful, it's not funny (as the title might suggest), and feels like it could have easily been a 20-minute skit instead of a 90-minute picture.
All I really gleaned was that the actor used a prosthetic cock and that shooting sex scenes can sometimes be awkward. I never would have guessed that.
This was a pleasant surprise. I have found many of Mdme Breillat's films tough going and have often failed to understand her purpose. This, however, was a fascinating study of the process of making a film that kept me entranced. The acting was excellent and the story may be her most accessible. From what I've read, it is somewhat autobiographical. But, as a study in the process, it ought to be required viewing in a film studies curriculum.More
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