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“Max Mad” – A Review by the Romanian SF Writer and Journalist Cristian Tudor Popescu


When someone says “Mad Max”, who is thinking about what “Mad” means? “Mad Max” is a password endowed with the force of sound; a cinematographic mantra.

Its inventor, George Miller, manages at his fourth attempt to make us aware of this mantra, turning it inside out from “Maximum Madness” as “Max Mad” should be the real title.

The Madman of the movie is not just Max, he is all parts of the film;  the people, the cars, the tree, the water, the air, the metal, the earth, the whole post-human universe of Miller; all soaked in craziness.

“Mad Max” is built upon a porn film scaffolding. In porn 90% is hard sex with small breaks in between (the interfuck), which however brief, will irritate  connoisseurs. George Miller tries the same, substituting sex with almost uninterrupted hard action, hype, thrill, with dazzling visual effects – and succeeds.

Your brain starts hurting. The morbid, febrile and paranoid vigor invades your mind like a drug,like Valhalla, the viking cult of death in combat, mixed with expiation in the form of a hippie orgasm, as in “Zardoz” by John Boorman, with whom “Mad Max” shares the matriarchal futuristic feminism, the hard rock guitar like a killer lyre of a demonic Orpheus, the Coca Cola of the post-atomic future, Aqua Cola, mixed with breast milk in the tank, McDonald’s heroes feasting with the gods, the baroque rusted metal, the super motorcycles and monster trucks on Massive Attack’s rhythms, radioactive Tarzans swinging into the Namibian desert’s twilight on 15 meters flexible lances, vehicles’ species like dinosaurs bearing Volkswagen and Chrysler hulls, nazi like android Kraftwerk and Rammstein faces with lemurian-expressionist dark circles.

It’s amazing to see how “Metropolis”, Fritz Lang’s expressionist masterpiece can, as Mad Max’s Führer, Immortan Joe, produces a mutant offspring, 88 years after its premiere – or as Mary, the mad scientist Rotwang’s robot, to Furiosa, the hard to forget face of Charlize Theron, keeping a mechanical arm from the elbow down.

Mad Max’s story has no depth, no originality, and it’s characters do not suffer from complexity or evolution (except the repented murderer Nux). Nor should it be, because it would distract from mindblowing audiovisual dynamic sequences made with an image, a fitting inner rhythm and a soundtrack, all of them worthy of an Academy Award.

Maximum Madness” forbids you to think. The only time left is to feel sensations and states succeeding in you like lightning, and you can not stand it. Miller’s powerful imagination is secured using reality anchors, little technicoide gems : the great shield of the great war machine launched in desert goes down throwing away the sand to extinguish a fire caused by an explosive head spear ; the hell drivers are sucking the gasoline directly from a hose and spit it into the carburetor to obtain a meter per second in addition to the opponent, Max files the lock of his metal muzzle as he might scratch his neck; and because he is linked with the cuff of the fainted Nux and this one is handcuffed to a ripped door, Max hauls everything on his back and goes to battle!

Life is the privilege of mediocre people. Only mediocre live at normal life’s temperature, the others are consumed at temperatures where life does not stand, where they can not only breathe by moving one foot beyond life “. This thought of Emil Cioran finds its embodiment in the manic roar that kamikaze attacks are mocked by those considering them as not spectacular enough: “Mediocre ! None other than: Mediocre! ”

“Max Mad” is a fantastic film, truly deserving the insane grade but it’s running in a world of the Islamic State and Al Qaeda’s reality where participation in terrorist suicide attacks is obtained with a baksheesh.

© Cristian Tudor Popescu

Pics© Kennedy Miller Mitchell&Village Roadshow Pictures&Warner Bros. Pictures

Cristian Tudor Popescu (Romanian pronunciation: [kristiˈan ˈtudor poˈpesku]; often nicknamed CTP; born October 1, 1956) is a Romanian journalist, essayist and short-story writer. Author of science fiction, he has also hosted talk shows for various television stations, and had contributions as a literary critic and translator.

Born in Bucharest,  Cristian Tudor Popescu graduated the Politechnics University in 1981, majoring in Computer Science.

Cristian Tudor Popescu in the 80s.

In the autumn of 1984, Cristian Tudor Popescu became member of the main romanian SF club, “Solaris” from Bucharest and in November 1985, he founded  “ProspectArt” SF Club, relaunched in 2009 by the Romanian Science Fiction&Fantasy Society.

Cristian Tudor Popescu at ProspectArt SF Club, Bucharest, 2010.

Popescu began writing science fiction in 1984, focusing on his journalistic career after the Romanian Revolution of 1989.

He made his debut in 1984 in the Echinox literary magazine of Cluj-Napoca with the SF story “Grădina de cenușă” (The Ash Garden).

Popescu’s work was subsequently featured in most SF anthologies, almanacs and magazines before 1990, and he was twice a laureate of the ROMCON Awards (1985, 1986). He received the Eurocon Award for the collection of short stories “Planetarium”.

After 1990, he confined his SF activity to translating and editing the works of others.


Popescu translated Stanisław Lem’s novels “Manuscript Found in a Bathtub“, “Return from the Stars“, as well as Norman Spinrad’s “Bug Jack Barron” (in collaboration with Dan Mihai Pavelescu).

As an editor of SF literature, he published Dănuț Ungureanu’s novel “Marilyn Monroe pe o curbă închisă” (Marilyn Monroe on a Closed Curve, 1993), Dan Merișca’s “Revoltă în labirint” (Revolt in Labyrinth, 1996), and the SF anthology “Imperiul oglinzilor strâmbe” (The Empire of the Crooked Mirrors, 1993).

Between 1990 and 2005, Popescu was the editor-in-chief of Adevărul (The Truth) newspaper.

Cristian Tudor Popescu is also a filmologist, Ph.D. in cinematography of the National University of Theatrical and Cinematographic Art I. L. Caragiale, Bucharest, where he is teaching a course on Manipulation and Propaganda Techniques in Movie and Television.

Since 2006, Cristian Tudor Popescu is the host of the “CineTePrinde” TV show , broadcast each Saturday, starting from 10 pm, on Pro Cinema TV Channel, where he comments a movie, which is given afterwards, from a critical point of view. Since 2013, he is member of UCIN (The Romanian .

A fact that has become widely known in the last years is that CTP is an accomplished tennis player having won numerous national tournaments in the 55+ senior category competing against as many as 140 contestants at an event.

Published volumes

1987–“Planetarium“, Albatros, Bucharest,1987-The Prize of the European Congress of Science-Fiction, Montpellier, France

1991–“Vremea mânzului sec” (The Time of the Empty Colt), Cartea Românească,

1998, “Vremea mânzului sec“, second edition, Polirom

1993– “Imperiul oglinzilor strâmbe” ( The Empire of Crooked Mirrors), Adevarul Society, anthology of science-fiction literature

1997– “Copiii bestiei” (The Children of the Beast) (DU Style)

1998, “Copiii bestiei“, second edition, Polirom

1998– “Timp mort” (Dead Time), Polirom

2000– “Omohom. Ficțiuni speculative” (Omohom. Speculative Fictions), Polirom

2000– “România abțibild” (Romania, transfer picture), Polirom

2001– “Un cadavru umplut cu ziare” (A Corpse Filled Up with Newspapers), Polirom

2004– “Nobelul românesc” (The Romanian Nobel), Polirom

2004– “Sportul minții” (Mind’s Sport), Polirom

2004– “Libertatea urii” (The Freedom of Hatred), Polirom

2005– “Trigrama Shakespeare. Ficțiuni speculative” (The Shakespeare Trigram. Speculative Fictions), Corint

2005– “Orgasmus comunistas“, Polirom

2007– “Luxul morții” (The Luxury of Death), Polirom

2009– “Cuvinte rare” (Scattered Words), Polirom

2011– “Filmul surd în România mută: politică și propagandă în filmul românesc de ficțiune (1912-1989)“(The Deaf Movie in a Silent Romania. Politics and Propaganda in the Romanian Fiction Movie, 1912–1989), Polirom

2013– “Filmar“, Polirom



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