Mammuth (image 1)

Depardieu is delightful... Mammuth derives its infinite tenderness and joy from its highly personal mature.

Benedicte Prot, Cineuropa

Screened as part of NZIFF 2010

Mammuth 2010

Directed by Gustave Kervern, Benoît Delépine

In this sweetly grotesque comedy from the directors of Louise-Michel, an elephantine Gérard Depardieu retires and takes to the road on his old motorbike. “Droll, often outrageous and completely fresh.” — Hollywood Reporter

France In French with English subtitles
89 minutes

Directors, Screenplay

Producers

Jean-Pierre Guerin
,
No Money

Photography

Hugues Poulain

Editor

Stéphane Elmadjian

Production designer

Paul Chapelle

Costume designer

Florence Laforge

Music

Gaëtan Roussel

With

Gérard Depardieu (Mammuth)
,
Yolande Moreau (Catherine)
,
Isabelle Adjani (the Lost Lover)
,
Benoît Poelvoorde (the competitor)
,
Miss Ming (Miss Ming)
,
Blutch (pension fund employee)
,
Philippe Nahon (director of the retirement home)
,
Bouli Lanners (recruiting agent)
,
Anna Mouglalis (fake cripple)
,
Albert Delpy (the cousin)
,
Bruno Lochet
,
Rémy Roubakha & Joseph Dahan (restaurant guests)
,
Gustave Kervern (delicatessen employee)
,
Stéphanie Pillonca (restaurant waitress)
,
Jawad Enejjaz (judge of faces)
,
Rémy Kolpa Kopoul (roundabout boss)
,
Siné (wine grower)
,
Paulo Anarkao (Big Bertha)

Festivals

Berlin 2010

Elsewhere

Inspired absurdists and cheerleaders of underclass rancour, Delépine and Kervern follow last year’s savoury Louise-Michel with the sweet, hilarious grotesquerie of Mammuth. Laid off from the slaughterhouse at 60, Serge Pilardos (Gérard Depardieu) discovers that to pick up his pension he needs to furnish evidence that he’s been paying taxes. Wife Catherine (Yolande Moreau) bids him to mount his 70s Mammuth motorcycle, hit the road and track down the myriad former employers who never had the big sucker on their books in the first place.
The stupendously elephantine, long-haired Depardieu never milks the pathos: there’s a guileless gravity about his deep stupidity that’s insanely touching. (When the filmmakers contend that Serge actually possesses the soul of a poet, it’s not such a stretch as it may sound.) The wonderful Moreau complements Depardieu wickedly well as his baleful better half and sharp-eyed champion. There’s a raucous cast of ratbags and nutcases along the road – and it’s anyone’s guess why Depardieu’s contemporary, the famously face-lifted Isabelle Adjani, allowed Delépine and Kervern to cast her as the eternally 20-year-old ghost of his lost love. Most bizarre. — BG

“There are many outrageous moments in Mammuth – from Serge’s naked romp with his decrepit cousin (Albert Delpy), to his hapless attempts to fit a shopping cart between two parked cars, to his obscene verbal sparring with the man behind the meat counter at the supermarket. Moreau in particular puts her comic skills to good use here, generating the biggest laughs as the wife whose patience with the working life has worn thin.” — Mike Goodridge, Screendaily