2002 Certificate: 18


This attempt to "demystify the process of filming a sex scene" likes to think it's a frank and witty lifting of the lid when, in fact, it's a dreary, self-conscious petty indulgence.


  • Catherine Breillat


  • Roxane Mesquida

  • Anne Parillaud

  • Ashley Wanninger

  • Gregoire Colin


The rigorous conviction of luvvies that the whole world is obsessed with their inner emotional workings is one of the most deluded of myths.

Basically, we want to know which Hollywod big hitter is sleeping with who. What we don't really want to know is why.

Breillat's self-obsession makes Narcissus appear positively cavalier about his self-image as she focuses on the preparations for a sex scene in a movie.

The fictional director Jeanne (Nikita's Parillard) is obviously based on Breillat and we are now privy to her thoughts on actors, actresses and film crews.

It doesn't make for great cinema as we are forced to listen to a litany of luvvie philosophy - the script makes navel-gazing appear to be an astronomical discipline.

"An actor has to be like a fakir," she intones portenuously at one stage. "You have to walk on red hot coals and not get burned." What is she talking about - the greatest crisis facing most actors is whether to have skinny latte or frappuccino.

Her two stars - sultry ingenue Mesquida and insufferably vain seducer Colin - deeply loathe one another and it's up to Jeanne to overcome this.

So what we get is lots of thespian preciousness, hissy fits and airy-fairy ramblings masquarading as a psychological insight into the players' minds.

Substituting self-importance for worth, Jeanne basically plays the giddy goat - kipping in a car during lunch so she doesn't have to face them, and engaging in self-aggrandising conversations to make them feel better about themselves.

Billed as a comedy, the scenes involving a prosthetic penis (don't ask) and the actor's insistence of keeping his socks on for the scene are on the same wavelength as a Carry On out-take.

The tears wept at the end of the pretty objectionable final scene could be the cast emoting...or could be you realising you could have saved some cash by watching TV at home.

Sex may be a comedy...but this certainly isn't.

Tim Evans