The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, July 1-7

07/01/2015 8:00 AM |

max-mon-amour

Max mon amour (1986)
Directed by Nagisa Oshima
A diplomat’s long-suffering wife (Charlotte Rampling) swerves into an extramarital liaison with a chimpanzee (Aisla Berk, within a sensational ape costume by SFX maestro Rick Baker) from the Paris zoo. Much of the wildly underexamined Max is about other humans trying to make sense of their forbidden love, a shoulder pads-clad gasp of the drawing-room satire that made screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière’s earlier collaborations with Luis Buñuel famous. The frame lavishes itself more glowingly on Max than his human costars, but the chimp’s primal unknowability transforms a wacky bestiality logline into a sublime melodrama that can be called “Lacanian” with little-to-no BS. Humanity is a chore; where Rampling’s eyes meet Berk’s, you’ll find the film’s mysterious essence. Steve Macfarlane (July 7, 4pm, 7:30pm at FIAF’s Carrière series)