One of the weirdest movies ever and a cult object because of it, this 1986 deadpan satire about a married, upper-middle-class diplomat's wife (Charlotte Rampling) who has a love affair with a chimpanzee is getting a DVD release just in time for the gift-giving season -- perfect for those who already own King Kong.
Director Nagisa Oshima (In the Realm of the Senses) teamed up with co-screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrier and producer Serge Silberman (both of whom worked on Bunuel's Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie) for this Paris-set comedy of manners. After British diplomat Peter Jones (Anthony Higgins) discovers his wife in bed with Max, an adult chimp she met at the zoo, he tries to handle his jealousy with civility by inviting Max to move in. Then he drives himself crazy wondering if he's playing a chump to a chimp. Max, for his part, screams a lot and breaks things. Max Mon Amour can get really strange, but Oshima is so kind to his characters that the satire on middle-class morality has little bite. And the last act is as cutesy as a Spielberg movie. Maybe Spielberg should remake Max Mon Amour. (Steven Rosen) Grade: C+
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