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Mary and Max (2009)

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Two of Max’s life goals come true

Original classification rating: PG. This clip chosen to be PG

Clip description

In his New York high-rise, Max (voiced by Philip Seymour Hoffman) is cutting and saving his toenails, aiming for order and stability. On the footpath below, a mime artist in the guise of Marcel Marceau goes through his silent paces. Max’s air conditioner detaches from the wall and falls, crushing the hapless mime to a pulp. Max invents new ways to keep cool, and on his 48th birthday, finally wins Lotto. The clip is narrated by Barry Humphries.

Curator’s notes

This clip is remarkable for its irony. The animation of the mime artist is sublime – he is wordless, pure, fluid in his movements, even putting up a tiny cocktail umbrella before the air conditioner falls. Max’s efforts at order and quiet are crushed simultaneously with the innocent mime artist below. Accused of manslaughter, Max is let off, as he is deemed ‘mentally deficient’ (and without a motive for killing a mime, unlike many, who see no value in this genre).

After Max wins the lottery (while Handel’s stirring coronation anthem 'Zadok the Priest’ plays on the soundtrack), he is ‘sensible with his sudden wealth’. He fills his apartment with chocolate, buys the complete Noblets collection of figurines and gives the rest of his winnings away to his ancient neighbour, who dies all too soon, leaving the fortune to a Cat Society.

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australianscreen is produced by the National Film and Sound Archive. By using the website you agree to comply with the terms and conditions described elsewhere on this site. The NFSA may amend the 'Conditions of Use’ from time to time without notice.

All materials on the site, including but not limited to text, video clips, audio clips, designs, logos, illustrations and still images, are protected by the Copyright Laws of Australia and international conventions.

When you access australianscreen you agree that:

  • You may retrieve materials for information only.
  • You may download materials for your personal use or for non-commercial educational purposes, but you must not publish them elsewhere or redistribute clips in any way.
  • You may embed the clip for non-commercial educational purposes including for use on a school intranet site or a school resource catalogue.
  • The National Film and Sound Archive’s permission must be sought to amend any information in the materials, unless otherwise stated in notices throughout the Site.

All other rights reserved.

ANY UNAUTHORISED USE OF MATERIAL ON THIS SITE MAY RESULT IN CIVIL AND CRIMINAL LIABILITY.

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