The Last Supper
Superficially, “Madame” is a comedy about the predicament of Bob and Anne, struggling with the pressures of their upper class lifestyle, in particular Anne’s neurotic controlling and insecurity. It all unfolds through the introduction of an ingénue; their maid Maria, who inadvertently brings farcical chaos into the already complicated relationships surrounding Bob and the desperate sale of his Caravaggio masterpiece, The Last Supper.
Lurking beneath a thin veneer of thin jokes at the expense of the rich and powerful (they’re so entitled!, they’re so immoral!) there’s a cleverly worked parallel between the theme of the painting and the predicament of its owners.
The scene is set for the friends, the family, and their maid to have their own “Last Supper” before the departure of a Messianic presence. Then Anne’s step-son invites himself, and Anne refuses to have an ‘unlucky’ 13 at her table, so Maria the innocent and honest maid reluctantly joins what could be the last dinner party to gaze on the great painting.
The painting does embody the establishment, class, and grace, to which the family aspire. But the theological elements of the Last Supper narrative are echoed throughout the dialogue, events, and characters of the movie. For example:
- The disciples are about to lose their Master, and the family is about to lose their masterpiece. Both are having a Last Supper before parting;
- Bob is in debt and needs bailing out, so his heirloom, Caravaggio’s “Last Supper” is for sale, pending validation. The family and the disciples are equally bankrupt morally, with unexpected salvation imminent;
- Somebody is going to betray somebody else!
- Perhaps you can see other parallels? The old deceiver, the accuser, the liar, is certainly there somewhere, plotting to ensnare those who seek truth and freedom!
The parallels of the contemporary Last Supper unfolds as Maria is swept along in a flood of disdain, deceit, and betrayal, all cunningly hidden within the slippery speech and visually sumptuous world of the super wealthy.
The main acts in the play are the Last Supper itself, followed by the farce of the romance, followed by the resolution, which we think we can see coming all the way, until the end actually comes.
So, watch out in the “Last Supper”.
Who is the Christ? Clothed in White and dishing out wisdom in darts and in stories. “Remember your life is short and disdain no one”.
Who will kiss the Messiah, the betrayer who attempts to derail everything?
Who of the modern disciples loves the chosen one? Will they stay faithful, or fall away?