Max Jacob is a fascinating and tragic figure in the history of the first half of the 20th century. Born a Jew, homosexual, he was a well-known poet and an art expert, living in the exuberant boheme of Paris in the first decades of the 20th century, famous and befriended with the well known artists, poets, playwrights of the era. Although converted to Caholicism tens of years before he was still considered a Jew by the racial laws of occupied Franced, and died as a Jew in the camp in Drancy, waiting for deportation to Germany.
Too little of this emotional story is brought to life in this docu-drama with melodramatic tones. Instead of the tragic dilemma the real Jacob lived in the final years of his live we are mainly faced with the story of the efforts of a girl he befriended as a child years before to save him, and the half-hearted efforts of his friends to reach his desperate plea for help. Nothing or too little of the artist figure comes to screen, and other historical characters like Picasso or Cocteau also lack dimension and are reduced to the too popular gossips we all know about them. It is poignant to see Jean-Claude Brialy in his last role here, but Max Jacob deserves a much better film than this melodrama.
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