MARINA GATELL in Carlos Atanes' "Maximum Shame"Genuine underground movies

An apocalyptic fetish horror musical chess sci-fi weird feature movie

A man is lying in bed as a woman, presumed to be his wife, lulls him to sleep with various facts about numbers, such as the fact that there are more potential variations on a game of chess than there are atoms in the universe. She succumbs to sleep herself after promising to help him determine his favorite number tomorrow, and as soon she’s asleep, the man quickly springs to life. We hear his internal monologue as he worries about his impending doom: a black hole will swallow the Earth in a few short hours. In an attempt to survive a few minutes longer, he crawls under the bed and finds himself in a bizarre alternate universe.

Marina Gatell and Ariadna Ferrer in Carlos Atanes' "Maximum Shame"

Written and directed by Carlos Atanes
Ana Mayo, Marina Gatell, Ignasi Vidal, Paco Moreno, Ariadna Ferrer, David Castro and Eleanor James.
Music by
Marc Álvarez
Direction of photography
Albert Pons
Executive producer
Marta Timón
(FortKnox Audiovisual)
Produced by
Carlos Atanes
80 min.


IGNASI VIDAL in Carlos Atanes' "Maximum Shame"

  «Brutal, disturbing, confusing, challenging and severely unique.»
Mark Bell - Film Threat

«Certainly one of the most ambitious and challenging movies in recent memory.»
David Carter - Film Fanaddict

«A deep philosophical journey across a decaying minimalist playground on the fringes of reality. Oh, and it’s a musical.»
Mike Everleth - Underground Film Journal
"Maximum Shame" is one of the 2010 five Movies Of The Year according to Bad Lit

«Carlos Atanes' works his magic best this way. He can completely head-fuck you so hard that you won't be able to smoke an after-sex-cigarette afterwards, yet he does it in a fun way. A fun, unique way. A fun, unique, perverted way.»
Ronny Carlsson - Film Bizarro

«Maximum Shame is perhaps Atanes’ most ambitious and polished—not to mention weirdest—feature work.»
Greg Smalley - 366 Weird Movies

«When your lover is a woman who loves to talk about numbers, doing a “69” can take on a whole new meaning. Of course, her proclivity for discussing numbers and their meanings may take a back seat to more pressing matters, if you think the world is about to be swallowed up in a black hole. That is the start of MAXIMUM SHAME by Spanish filmmaker Carlos Atanes.»
Nic Brown - B Movie Man

«I would recommend this movie to someone who just wants to see something different and unique. This is a original. And hats off to Carlos for having the balls to make this movie.»
James DePaolo - Horrorphilia Podcast

«The warehouse of MAXIMUM SHAME is a very particular closed universe, a freakshow wonderland that Ana Mayo's Alice ventures into. But it is also and more disturbingly a distilled mirror version of the real universe we all occupy right now.»
Rob Smart - Bright Lights Film Journal

«Defying all description is Carlos Atanes’ MAXIMUM SHAME. The film is packed with ideas and obsessions and peopled with an outlandish cast in an absurdist environment. The result is incredibly engaging on both a visceral and an intellectual level. MAXIMUM SHAME is a narrative puzzle which, like chess, sets up a series of rules that are superficially simple but which allow for endlessly complex positions to be developed and explored. This is a film that does expect you to pay attention and one that will challenge you to consider many of your preconceived notions. It is also a richly rewarding experience.»
Paul Pritchard - Pulp Movies
"Maximum Shame" is one of the 2010 eleven More Memorable Independent Films according to Pulpmovies





Ariadna Ferrer in Carlos Atanes' "Maximum Shame"
Ana Mayo in Carlos Atanes' "Maximum Shame"
Ariadna Ferrer and Marina Gatell in Carlos Atanes' "Maximum Shame"
Ana Mayo in Carlos Atanes' "Maximum Shame"
Ignasi Vidal and Ana Mayo in Carlos Atanes' "Maximum Shame"

ANA MAYO in Carlos Atanes' "Maximum Shame"

Nominated for Weirdest Movie of 2011
in 366 Weird Movies annual "Weirdcademy Awards".

Nominated for Best Feature Film
(BUT Film Festival, Breda, NL, 2010)

One of the 2010 Five Movies of the Year
according to Underground Film Journal

One of the 2010 Eleven More Memorable Independent Films
according to Pulpmovies

Carlos Atanes' most ambitious, polished and weirdest feature work
according to 366 Weird Movies

Brutal, disturbing, confusing, challenging and severly unique
according to Film Threat

ALSO officially selected at

Porto - Fantasporto International Film Festival (Portugal, 2011)
London - International Festival of Sci-Fi and Fantastic Film (UK, 2011)
Kiel - Fetisch Film Festival (Germany, 2011)
New York - Zero Film Festival (USA, 2010)
Minneapolis - Underground Film Festival (USA, 2010)
Paris - Optica Festival (France, 2010)
Morelia - Muestra Internacional de Cine Independiente (Mexico, 2010)



Ariadna Ferrer in "Maximum Shame"

I can’t explain why I make a film. I never know. For me a film is neither a tool nor a means, it’s an aim in itself. It has its own reasons, like a living being. What I can definitely say is that I don’t make them to tell stories —although, by the way, I do tell them— but to create small worlds different from ours. This may sound pretentious, but this is actually very humble: it consists of setting up a little enclosed ecosystem, ruled by its own rules. It’s just a game. The narration is an excuse to describe— and an itinerary to travel through —this ecosystem, that can be made up by a reduced group of inhabitants. That’s what happens in Maximum Shame, the only difference is that, unlike my other movies, in this one not even the protagonists know the rules that govern their lives. In this sense, the world of Maximum Shame is similar to ours. Even if we could have an opinion about this we really don’t know if what happens to us is the result of fate or destiny.

The characters of Maximum Shame live in a black hole, a place where time and space don’t exist, a limbo between reality and fiction, order and chaos, present and eternity. And what they do is, essentially, speak and eat. Or, on the contrary, shut up or fast.  Some people who haven’t gone over the anal stage don’t like when characters speak in the films, they think that in filmmaking very little has to be said, if possible, nothing. It’s an upsetting whim that I don’t share. I like people to speak inside and outside the films, mainly if they say interesting things. And this allows me to establish a hierarchical order that turns out to be very stimulating when deciding, with the authority of being the author, who speaks and who doesn’t. Normally the powerful speaks and the submissive keeps quiet. As there’s usually a character that’s more powerful than others, the sequences that I write end up as a monologue or, in the best of cases as a dialogue at crossed purposes. Considering that in the real world it is really rare that someone listens to someone else, also in this aspect Maximum Shame is a realistic film.

Gags are great to repress speech. There are two kinds: the ones that keep the mouth open and others that keep it shut, but both give the person back their vocal capacity and take it to a previous stage, articulated language. An adult on a gag has the same oratory skills of a child being breastfed. As I wanted to do films about adults that behave like children, I really felt like gagging actors, so I broke my piggy bank and had a look at some of the sex-shops from my neighborhood. To try to find atrezzo in sex-shops is more fun than in a notions store, although to ask for a gag in a notions store is quite something. Based on gags and childish cruelty exerted by lost souls in the limbo —children’s limbo— where they all participate in a chess game but where no one knows how to play, I assembled the plot of Maximum Shame. Being a lousy chess player helped me a lot.

I managed to write the script very quickly, in barely one month, fitting together at first sight the pieces of an absurd puzzle, though, in the end it showed itself to have a surprising internal coherence as it connected together. The different pieces seemed to be magnetized and attracted each other following correspondences between semantic fields: the unintelligibility of the rules of the game called for arbitrariness, this at the same time called for the fight for power on the one side, and for weariness on the other side, weariness lead to sadism, this to pain, pain to rapture, rapture to mysticism and to Saint Theresa’s transverberation, the transverberation to the ineffable. The ineffable is a hole in the verbal universe. And every hole has a double nature: that of being a gap and that of being a channel. The same happens with black holes, which are ruptures of space and perhaps doors to other worlds, and also the dark space between the bed and the floor, and the hole made by a red-hot sword in the body of someone who has gone through trasnsverberation and the tracheotomy performed by a picador’s spear, a vent that lets the air in but stops words from coming out.

As I write this, I realize how capable I am of expounding non-stop about the successive meanings and ramifications of meanings in this film. And that, probably, I may not have filmed a script, but a foolish and tangled Byzantine essay about ethics, faith, power, sex and other issues that attract me. I’ll stop here, not so much because I don’t want to go on for too long, but mainly because I don’t want to give the impression that I’m something I’m not —someone who knows what he’s talking about— and because I don’t want to present the film in an analytical and judicious wrap. I love it when a film displays multiple interpretations, polisemies, hidden senses, and leads to endless discussions. But above all —and Maximum Shame is not an exception—  I like it when it makes up a sensory experience, when it seduces intuition first and later, in any case,  the brain, if it’s necessary. Like a dream. If seeing Maximum Shame submerges your mind in an Alpha state, I will feel satisfied. If apart from that you notice that in that trance your mind gets separated from your body, it floats in the air and you are able to see yourself dozed off on the seat, then go through the screen and come to say hello to me: you will find me crouched down behind the camera.

Carlos Atanes
Madrid, May 2010


Carlos Atanes is an underground filmmaker and playwright. He has directed a lot of dystopian, weird and disturbing films known as atanic films. If you wish to enter his world, you can't miss the shortfilms anthology Codex Atanicus (1995-1999), the book Aleister Crowley in the Mouth of Hell and the feature-length movies FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions (2004), PROXIMA (2007), Maximum Shame (2010) and the newest one, Gallino, the Chicken System (2012), all of them available on DVD and Video On Demand. Go for a walk through this website and you'll enjoy other atanic works, texts and interviews.
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Aleister Crowley in the Mouth of Hell

Maximum Shame, apocalyptic fetish horrir musical chess sci-fi weird feature movie available on DVD and Video On Demand on Amazon. Gallino, the Chicken System, the first Pornophilosophical film in History, now available on DVD and Video On Demand on Amazon. A story full of lechery, sarcasm, extravagance, impossible geometries, discovery of existence's hidden sides and a pinch of Sex Magick.

©2009 The Estate of Carlos Atanes