The Confusion of Genders

Institute History

  • 2001 Sundance Film Festival


Marry Laurence? Live with Christophe? Let go of it all and follow his fantasies of Marc? Give in to the temptations of Babette? Choices, decisions, commitments—these are what Alain, the seductive fortyish junior partner in a small Parisian law firm fears and, with remarkable ingenuity, avoids. Ambiguity and existential doubt, confusion and chaos, these form the natural milieu of our charming protagonist's messy but not unhappy life.

The Confusion of Genders, novelist and director Ilan Duran Cohen's second feature film, moves quickly with witty, improvisational dialogue and fast repartee as complication builds on complication and an accident presents Alain with the ultimate decision: Laurence, the senior partner of the firm, discovers she is pregnant with his child. Despite the practice of a profession that applies clear definitions and reaches final judgments, both Alain and Laurence find themselves comically befuddled by this prosaic predicament. Meanwhile, there are Babette, Christophe, and Marc, all sexually involved with Alain, or on the verge thereof. No doubts for them; they are young, unreflective, and go directly to where their passion calls them.

As the lead actor of an extraordinary cast, Pascal Greggory gives a remarkable performance that embodies the main character with perfect fidelity. Duran Cohen, drawing upon the philosopher's meditations on life's dilemmas, the novelist's psychological insight, and the director's gift for deploying images, has restated the Cartesian principle as "I doubt, therefore I am," and made it into a work of art and delightful comedy.

— Nicole Guillemet

Screening Details

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