Sex Is Comedy (review)

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Leave it to the French to create a Moebius strip of a movie about the difficulties of shooting an effective, believable sex scene that holds multiple mirrors up to itself, creating a neverending series of reflections and self-referents. Director Jeanne (La Femme Nikita‘s Anne Parillaud) is getting ready to shoot the most important scene in her film — an awkward moment of teenage first sex — but her actors are nothing but trouble: they can’t stand each other, have no chemistry, won’t do nudity, and are generally the only impediment to Jeanne’s filmic triumph. Writer/director Catherine Breillat wrings all sorts of tacit metaphysics out of the fakery that goes into approximating Truth, and from the moments in which Jeanne coaxes and coerces and coos over her cast (Grégoire Colin: Sade, and Roxane Mesquida) in an attempt to drag performances out of them… moments, one imagines, that must have been very like those Breillat and her cast went through making Sex Is Comedy. There’s something of sausage-making among the wry sophistication, though — after seeing what it takes to make fake sex hot and steamy, maybe we don’t want to know what goes into making movies after all.

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