All True Artists Are Hated: The Transgressions of Catherine Breillat

Funny, embarrassing, full of ridiculous moments that ring strangely true, Sex is Comedy manages to explore how sexuality is brought to life in the cinema through any means possible.”

Film Forum, New York

Lighter and less combative than much of her work, Catherine Breillat’s Sex Is Comedy is a self-mocking, self-referential film à clef about a filmmaker making a film. More precisely, a Breillat-like director, shooting a movie like Breillat’s Fat Girl, faced with the difficulty of putting convincing sizzle in a key sex scene between two actors who loathe each other. Anne Parillaud plays Jeanne, Breillat’s stand-in, a driven, demanding, self-dramatizing director making a movie about sex, manipulation, and power. Roxane Mesquida (who played the corresponding role in Fat Girl) and Grégoire Colin are her two young leads. As the pivotal scene approaches, Jeanne resorts to all manner of cajoling and philosophizing to get her money shot. Playful and nakedly honest, Sex Is Comedy was inspired by those ubiquitous making of” documentaries, which, Breillat maintains, can never really capture the mystery of what goes on behind the scenes of a film shoot.

In French and Portuguese with English subtitles

Breillat’s films prove that without intimacy a story is a hollow shell, a diversion, a sham … Sex Is Comedy reveals the high price of that intimacy for the director, for the viewer, and, especially, for the actors.”

Richard Brody, The New Yorker

A key text on cinematic sex and bodily objectification, as well as arguably her funniest and most approachable work.”

BFI Player
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