The Joy of Singing



Rome International Film Festival

ROME -- Talking about sex is perhaps more titillating than the act itself for French filmmakers, the latest proof being Ilan Duran Cohen's espionage farce "The Joy of Singing." Just one notch below porn for its sex scenes, the film is as entertaining as it is unabashedly silly but could expect only an NC-17 rating in the U.S.

Muriel (Marina Fois) and Philippe (Loran Deutsch) are secret agent partners and sometime lovers on the trail of the beautiful but naive Constance (Jeanne Balibar), who may possess a memory stick with information on her dead husband's uranium trafficking. To get close to her, they sign for up her same opera class, crossing paths and occasional gunfire with a host of others. One of which is Julien (Julien Baumgartner), a softhearted gigolo hired by her sister-in-law to bait Constance.

The spy stuff is merely a pretext for the sex and everyone is out to get everyone else in all ways possible. Yet the film never takes itself seriously as the plot gets increasingly more convoluted, Muriel and Philippe try to resolve their differences with deadpan philosophizing and the joy of singing helps everyone discover their true, nutty natures.

Production companies: Mille et Une Productions.
Cast: Marina Fois, Lorant Deutsch, Jeanne Balibar, Nathalie Richard, Julien Baumgartner, Caroline Ducey, Guillaume Quatravaux.
Director/screenwriter: Ilan Duran Cohen.
Producer: Anne-Cecile Berthomeau, Fares Ladjimi, Wdouard Mauriat.
Director of photography: Christophe Graillot.
Production designer: Frederique Winum.
Music: Philippe Basque.
Costume designer: Barbara Kraft.
Editor: Fabrice Rouaud.
Sales Agent: Pyramide Distribution.
No rating, 96 minutes.