Screened as part of NZIFF 2003

Sex is Comedy 2002

Directed by Catherine Breillat

France In French with English subtitles
92 minutes 35mm

Director, Screenplay


Laurent Machuel


Pascale Chavance


Anne Parillaud
Grégoire Colin
Roxane Mesquida
Ashley Wanninger


Cannes (Directors’ Fortnight), Edinburgh, Toronto 2002; Rotterdam, San Francisco 2003


Catherine Breillat, of Romance and À ma soeur! infamy, satirises the decade’s new genre, the behind-the-scenes DVD extra, and parodies her own reputation as a hardcore theorist of female sexuality. Anne Parillaud stars as a filmmaker directing an arduous sex scene with young actors who detest each other. — BG

“Full of witticisms and aphorisms, Sex is Comedy takes the viewer into a faux-authentic sex shoot complete with giant fake penis, nerve-shattered cast and unflappable crew… Breillat here seems inclined to give her audience the answers they want: how she gets her actors to do these things… The tricks, lies, evasions and interpersonal sparring that fill this script could fill a dozen more, while Parillaud’s directorial jibes call to mind every self-reflexive French film from François Truffaut’s Day for Night to Olivier Assayas’ Irma Vep.” — B. Ruby Rich 

“As visions of absurdity go, Grégoire Colin clowning with a prosthetic penis isn’t bad. Still, Sex is Comedy's payoff offers more than the words in its title.” — Johnny Ray Huston, San Francisco Bay Guardian