Year Released: 2011
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 80 minutes
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Carlos Atanes’ Maximum Shame bills itself as “an apocalyptic fetish horror musical chess sci-fi weird feature movie,” and I’d have to say that description is downright accurate.
For starters, there is apparently a black hole poised to destroy the world, a nutty dominatrix Queen (Marina Gatell) on rollerskates, various people chained, bound, gagged and/or tortured by said Queen, musical numbers and other outright insanity. What does it all mean?
For one, did the world really end, or is it all part of some elaborate experiment by the Queen to the detriment of her captive audience? Is it all a dream? Is it the afterlife? Is it another universe? Where does chess come in to all of this (other than the characters’ eventual names)?
The film takes place in the dirty and dingy corners of rumble and ruin, but just because everything is decaying, does that mean it is really destroyed? What value pain?
Maximum Shame is challenging, but it’s not what I would call a “gibberish film” (and I’ve definitely seen my fair share of those). There are some serious philosophical ponderings going on, but they’re delivered almost subliminally, which might be why it’s so hard to grasp and discuss consciously. When the images on screen distract so powerfully, but the words impart so consistently, everything just exists in a cinematic subconscious loop.
You want to know if this is good? I don’t think it’s as easy as labeling it “good” or “bad.” The film exists outside such simple distinctions. It’s brutal, disturbing, confusing, challenging and severely unique. I could watch this two or three more times and come up with entirely new interpretations of it all. This is not for the casual audience unwilling to engage their brains, and, having said that, it may not be beneficial to your sanity if you have.
This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.
Posted on November 1, 2011 in Reviews by Mark Bell
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