Max & Co

Year: 2007
Country: Switzerland
Running time: 76 mins

Switzerland/UK/Belgium/France
Screenplay: Emmanuel Salinger, Christine Dory
Photography: Renato Berta
Editor: Jacques Comets
Music: Bruno Coulais
In French with English subtitles
CinemaScope/PG low level violence

Voices: Lorànt Deutsch, Patrick Bouchitey, Amélie Lerma, Micheline Dax, Virginie Efira

Festivals: Toronto 2007

Promoted in Europe as a film for the entire family, this extravagantly mounted, endlessly inventive stop-motion puppet animation from Switzerland might more helpfully be considered in the same league as The Nightmare Before Christmas or Wallace & Gromit’s Were-Rabbit adventure. It is playfully gothic, looking like an urban Aesop’s fable from the jazz age, and features an all critter cast, wittily imagined caricatures of grown-up venality. In provincial Saint Hilare, playboy industrialist frog Rodolfo is letting Bzzz & Co, the town’s mainstay, go to hell. Though assailed by rabid insect auditors, he is besotted with a cabaret singer chat fatale. Meanwhile a maniacal genetic engineer manufactures mutant flies to increase the demand for the failing factory’s one and only product: fly swatters. Enter 15-year-old Max, a wandering musician in search of his feckless father. Will the foxy Max and his mousy admirer Félicie expose the criminally foppish frog and put an end to the flies? You bet. — BG