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Critics reviews
Sex Is Comedy
Catherine Breillat France, 2002
The centerpiece sequence was a twenty-five minute sexual negotiation held on a fifteen-year-old girl’s bed. Shot in a grueling, unsettling and occasionally hilarious long take, it exemplifies why director Catherine Breillat described the film as a “psychological sitcom.” . . . It is a bracing and bitterly funny portrait of life on a film set, with all of its insecurities and shifting alliances, as well as a sharp-edged bit of artistic self-analysis.
December 05, 2017
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For most contemporary filmmakers, sex is merely signified through the most banally pneumatic conventions. It’s as if directors and viewers were fulfilling a tacit agreement—don’t ask, don’t tell. 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. Which leads to another question: Is it all worth it?
August 26, 2014
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Breillat believes that female directors work under a handicap, and she shows us here exactly how she arrived at this conclusion. So don’t be fooled by Comedy’s lightness. Underneath that breezy surface lurks real content-but with a smile.
March 10, 2005
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Ms. Parillaud gives a sparkling performance as the alternately skittish/ steely auteur. No one’s ever done the Champagne giggles better, or so deftly tossed off hilariously “casual” epigrams. Watch her size up the actor over lunch, as he improvises a bogus confessional.
October 20, 2004
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How much of the sex in [Breillat’s] films is real? How do she and her actors make it seem that way, even when it isn’t? Is her realism a matter of emotional nakedness, or the physical kind? The ingenuity of “Sex Is Comedy” is that it pretends to satisfy this curiosity, only, at the end, to force us once again to reckon with those uncomfortable questions, as the director treats herself to the last laugh.
October 20, 2004
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Making a movie about one of your own movies sounds like an unforgivable indulgence, but in Sex Is Comedy, Breillat examines the filmmaking process with brutal honesty, saving many of her most pointed barbs for herself.
October 18, 2004
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Parillaud’s performance is sharp on its surface and soft at its core. And if Jeanne truly is Breillat’s alter ego, she is a pitiless self-portrait. Breillat has written this role without a scrap of vanity.
October 16, 2004
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