Mammoth revived on screen

Mammuth, an ironic French drama starring maverick actors Gerard Depardieu and Isabelle Adjani, will be released in Russia next week.

­Serge is 60. Hard work is all he had in life. Never missed a day, never took sick leave. It is finally time to take retirement.

It is when Serge comes to claim his well-deserved pension, however, that he faces a real obstacle – bureaucracy. Several of his former employers, as it turns out, simply forgot to officially declare his earnings. To receive full benefits, his only solution is to go back to each of them and gather the missing papers.

Serge mounts his old motorcycle, a Mammuth, to which he owes his nickname, and encouraged by his wife, goes to revisit his former bosses, buddies, and forgotten family members.

Haunted by the ghostly presence of his first love, killed in a motorcycle accident, his quest to collect the missing papers, eventually turns into a hopeless case.

Does Mammuth have any drive left to beat depression?

The film’s director, Gustave Kervern, told RT, the film was written for none other than the leading light of French cinema, Gerard Depardieu.

Isabelle Adjani and Depardieu in Mammuth (Image from

­“It happened to be a moment when Depardieu wanted to make a small film. He wanted simplicity, modesty and we gave him what he asked for. That’s why, I think, he agreed to play in Mammuth. He worked for free, which is not at all his style. It was an extraordinary gift of his as you can imagine. In fact, we never even told him that he wouldn’t be paid but he understood it right away. He wanted to make this film for nothing. Even if Depardieu has got some vices, he is so very generous. During the shooting he came to read the script ten times, although they say he doesn’t read scripts at all, he devoted himself entirely to the shooting, working for free. And when such an incredible actor, like Depardieu, tells you that he has rediscovered himself emotionally, that he has regained his enthusiasm, it is a huge compliment,“ Kervern said.

Kervern explained that the challenge was to make audiences feel emotionally involved. One of the greatest French actors, Isabelle Adjani, was just what the doctor ordered.

“Isabelle Adjani was an inaccessible person for us, a bit weird. Everybody takes her for a crazy. We know it very well that she’s not crazy, she is just different. She has stopped making films. She doesn’t care about her career, because when you give up cinema, your career is finished. She doesn’t care. She decided to spend time with her children, with herself. It was important for us to meet a woman like this. Besides, strange and crazy people attract us much more than normal folks,” the director said.

The Mammuth is a mishmash of absurdity with reason, with a twist of signature French joie de vivre.

­Valeria Paikova, RT

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