|MAX MY LOVE (MAX MON AMOUR) (director/writer: Nagisa Oshima; screenwriter: Jean-Claude Carrière; cinematographer: Raoul Coutard; editor: Hélène Plemiannikov; music: Michel Portal; cast: Charlotte Rampling (Margaret Jones), Anthony Higgins (Peter Jones), Victoria Abril (Maria), Anne-Marie Besse (Suzanne), Nicole Calfan (Hélène), Pierre Étaix (Detective), Bernard Haller (Robert); Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Serge Silberman; Lionsgate; 1986-USA/France-in French and English))|
|"It's the kind of inane pic that
makes you wonder why Oshima was drawn to it."
by Dennis Schwartz
great Japanese filmmaker Nagisa Oshima ("Violence
at Noon"/"In the Realm of the Senses"/"Shonen"), in
one of his lesser films, shoots in Paris an uneven
bizarre love triangle comedy that follows in the
surreal style of Buñuel.
It has a field day uncovering the hypocrisy
of the bourgeois and mocking them. The title is
derived from the chimp named Max. It's scripted by Jean-Claude
Carrière, whose idea the film is based on.
Rampart is the bored wife of the bland English
diplomat Anthony Higgins, stationed in Paris. Higgins
is the stereotyped Brit upper-crust with a stiff upper
lip, who suspects his wife of having an affair. The
private detective he hires to follow her in the
afternoon discovers his wife makes daily visits to an
apartment. When he investigates, he catches his
client's wife in bed with a chimpanzee named Max.
Peter is told Max is a refugee from the circus, and
for her it was love at first sight. With that, Max is
invited to be part of their family as a pet. The
cunning diplomat wants to avoid a scandal. Most of the
comedy is delivered at a home dinner party, as the
guests look on in bewilderment as Max and Charlotte
is viewed as a hypocrite, since he's carrying on his
The film plays out as a fable, but failed to convince me anything either serious or funny was unearthed. It's the kind of inane pic that makes you wonder why Oshima was drawn to it.
In any case, he proves too staid to direct such an outrageous romp. To make matters worse, the performers were too uncertain in their performances and failed to give such social satire the jolt it deserved.
REVIEWED ON 1/12/2016 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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