Max mon amour

Margaret Jones, the wife of a British diplomat in Paris, is keeping a secret. She’s having an affair – with a chimpanzee. After her husband catches the two of them in flagrante delicto, he proposes that Max the chimp come live with them. The couple’s young son is delighted with the newest member of the family, but husband Peter is tortured by the question of whether Margaret is actually having sex with Max. He hopes to shed light on the issue by hiring a prostitute for Max … Ten years after his controversial film Ai No Korīda (In the Realm of the Senses, 1976), Japanese director Nagisa Oshima made this surreal marriage farce that is reminiscent of late Luis Buñuel films. That’s no surprise given that the screenplay was written by Jean-Claude Carrière, who also worked on the script for Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie (The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, 1972). Charlotte Rampling said, “‘Max’ was the most perfect script I've ever read”. Playing the distinguished diplomatic wife who gets up close and personal with her animal side, the role expanded her screen repertoire of kinky sexuality with a bit of monkey love.
by Nagisa Oshima
with Charlotte Rampling, Anthony Higgins, Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu, Victoria Abril, Anne Marie Besse, Pierre Étaix, Bernard Haller, Fabrice Luchini, Milena Vukotic
France / USA 1986 French, English 97’ Colour Rating R16


  • Charlotte Rampling
  • Anthony Higgins
  • Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu
  • Victoria Abril
  • Anne Marie Besse
  • Pierre Étaix
  • Bernard Haller
  • Fabrice Luchini
  • Milena Vukotic


Director Nagisa Oshima
Screenplay Nagisa Oshima, Jean-Claude Carrière
Cinematography Raoul Coutard
Editing Hélène Plemiannikov
Music Michel Portal
Sound Jean-Philippe Le Roux
Production Design Pierre Guffroy
Costumes Bernard Perris
Producer Serge Silberman

Nagisa Oshima

Born in Kyoto, Japan in 1932. After studying Political Science, he played a crucial role in shaping post-war Japanese cinema as a representative of the Japanese New Wave (Nūberu bāgu). In 1961, he founded his own production company, Sozosha. His oeuvre comprises more than 20 films and more than 15 television productions. Oshima died in 2013.


1959 Ai to kibo no machi (A Town of Love and Hope / Stadt der Liebe und Hoffnung); 62 min. 1960 Seishun zankoku monogatari (Cruel Story of Youth / Nackte Jugend); 69 min. · Nihon no yoru to kiri (Night and Fog in Japan / Nacht und Nebel über Japan); 107 min. 1965 Etsuraku (Pleasures of the Flesh / Die Freuden des Fleisches); 104 min. 1968 Koshikei (Death by Hanging / Tod durch Erhängen); 107 min. · Kaette kita yopparai (Three Resurrected Drunkards / Rückkehr der drei Trunkenbolde); 80 min. 1969 Shonen (Boy / Der Junge); 105 min. 1970 Tokyo senso sengo hiwa: eiga de isho o nokoshita otoko no monogatari (The Battle of Tokyo, or the Story of the Young Man Who Left His Will on Film / Geheime Geschichten aus der Zeit nach dem Tokio-Krieg); 94 min. 1976 Ai no corrida (In the Realm of the Senses / Im Reich der Sinne); 102 min, Competition 1976, Retrospective 1990 1978 Ai no borei (Empire of Passion / Im Reich der Leidenschaft); 105 min. 1983 Senjo no meri kurisumasu (Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence / Furyo – Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence); 123 min. 1986 Makkusu mon amuru (Max mon amour); 97 min., Homage 2019

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2020