DIR/WRI: Gustave de Kervern, Benoît Delépine • PRO: Jean-Pierre Guérin, Véronique Marchat • DOP: Hugues Poulain • Ed: Stéphane Elmadjian • DES: Paul Chapelle • Cast: Gérard Depardieu, Yolande Moreau, Isabelle Adjani
Mammuth certainly provides plenty of laughs. Written and directed by Gustave de Kervern and Benoît Delépine, the film tells the tale of the newly retired Mammuth (Gérard Depardieu) who sets off on a road trip on his motorcycle in search of the necessary paperwork from his previous jobs he’s had down the years in order to claim his pension. Along the way he experiences bizarre moments and encounters a strange collection of oddball characters, including a ghost from his past played by Isabelle Adjani.
Though somewhat losing its way toward the end, there’s easily enough comic moments throughout the film to make it worth recommending – and there really is nothing in the cinema at the moment quite like it. The humour is well observed and succeeds in marrying the painfully real with the surreal, as Mammuth’s post-retirement experiences erupt into moments of absurdity. There are certain scenes, such as the four men in the restaurant, which slowly build up titters in the audience but climax to a collective burst of laughter, coupled with prolonged moments of absurdist humour such as bizarre reunions with family members that end up in failed nostalgia-driven attempts at shared gratification – you’ll know when you see it.
The final part in which Mammuth ‘finds’ himself is a bit overdone but by that time the writers have done enough to forgive them their trespasses. Depardieu is in fine form here, although Yolande Moreau steals the film when she’s on screen in her hilarious role as his wife whose patience is constantly tested. Her determination to take vengeance on the person who has stolen her phone is a brilliant comic sequence.
All in all Mammuth is a wonderfully weird experience.
Rated 15A (seeIFCO websitefor details)
Mammuth is released on 3rd June 2011