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directed by Benoît Delépine and Gustave de Kervern
France 2010

 

Serge Pillardose (Gerard Depardieu, ALL THE MORNINGS OF THE WORLD) retires after ten years working at a cured meat company and is immediately at odds with everyone and everything. He's not good at fixing things around the house, so he bugs his grocery clerk wife Catherine (Yolande Moreau, THE PACK) at work and picks fights with the indifferent counter staff. His two-thousand piece puzzle - his only going-away present - sits unfinished on the coffee table and Catherine has to keep pushing him into looking into his benefits for the sake of their three outstanding debts and her medications. When Serge discovers that ten of his previous jobs never claimed benefits for him, Serge takes to the road on his 1973 Munch Mammuth motorbike to visit them and retrieve paperwork and signed affidavits. Along the way, he finds several of the businesses have closed down or no one is alive who remembers him, some of his employers paid their workers under the table in order not to pay taxes, and he would have to take a detour to the archdiocese in La Rochelle for his stint working in a cathedral (I'm not sure what he did since his other jobs were as bouncers, barmen, gravediggers, and the like). When a hooker (Anna Mouglalis, MERCI POUR LE CHOCOLAT) steals the cellphone Catherine gave Serge to keep in contact with her, Catherine and her friend Danielle (Catherine Hosmalin) take off after the "skinny bitch" with a shovel and a garbage bag large enough to hold a body before they realize that there is no way of finding her. Serge stops in at his brother's house and finds a kindred spirit in his niece Solange (Miss Ming), an sculptress/poetess who is best left doing her own thing rather than trying to work within the confines of the system - she brings up menstrual blood and pig guts during a local government job interview - (he also reconnects with his cousin Pierre [Albert Delpy, 2 DAYS IN PARIS] in a shockingly "intimate" manner). Isabelle Adjani (QUEEN MARGOT) pops up throughout the film as the ghost of an ex-love killed in a crash on Serge's motorbike and co-director Gustave de Kervern also appears briefly as a grocery store butcher with whom Serge has an altercation.

Not really the "X-rated MR. BEAN written by Charles Bukowski" - as the critical blurb on the cover pronounces it - MAMMUTH could be just as much about an indictment of a cracked system or a pro-establishment biker movie (Serge dropped out of school, did his own thing - he calls spending all of the money in the summers that he made working in the winters "paid vacations" - and is now left to deal with outstanding debts and health care issues). Although the relationship between Serge and Solange is touching, we don't really see the parallels between them (Adjani's ghostly visitations make more sense in pushing Serge into realizing what's important). There are a handful of comic interludes that are just there to pile on the eccentricity and the bits with the hooker have no pay off (she accepts a ride from a guy named Jean-Luc - the name of Serge's brother - and disappears from the film); however, the film works as a piece of film festival-bait with some threads to ponder in a time of economic instability and increasingly obvious bureaucratic incompetence.

Eric Cotenas

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Theatrical Release: 21 April 2010 (France) / 30 September 2011 (USA)

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DVD Review: Olive Films - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Olive Films

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:31:09
Video

1.83:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.5 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio French Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English (burnt-in)
Features Release Information:
Studio: Olive Films

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.83:1

Edition Details:
• none

DVD Release Date: December 6th, 2011
Amaray

Chapters 8

 

Comments

Olive Films' presentation of MAMMUTH is carelessly authored with an interlaced, anamorphic transfer with large burnt-in subtitles. I'm sure the bleached-out contrasts are a stylistic choice, but some edge-enhancement seems to have been applied to counteract the filmmakers attempts to degrade the film. The French audio is stereo only (the imports have 5.1 French tracks). There are no extras, but a 19 minute and 27 second chunk of the film is curiously repeated as a separate video title set as if in error, which may have inadvertently caused Olive Films to render it as a dual-layer presentation (the film and menus equal 4.37 GB while this extra chunk of video - not selectable anywhere from the menus - raises the disc size to 5.25 GB).

A Blu-ray is available in France, HERE, but it is not English-friendly.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Olive Films

Region 1 - NTSC

 

 




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