A slaughterhouse worker, heavy and reticent, has just turned sixty and his colleagues have organised a farewell party to celebrate his retirement. The man began his working life at the age of sixteen; he has never lost a job, or been off sick. But then he discovers in an interview at the works’ pension fund that, during the course of his chaotic working life, no fewer than six of his employers have ‘forgotten’ to register his earnings. If he is to receive his pension he will have to furnish the necessary proof of employment.
Egged on by his wife, the protagonist climbs onto his old seventies ‘Mammoth’ motorbike that has earned him his nickname, and returns to the places of his youth. His journey puts him in touch with former workmates, old friends and long-lost relatives. Gradually, he begins to realise that, back then, everyone used to think of him as an idiot, and — what’s worse — still do.
Self-doubt begins to gnaw at him. This, coupled with his memories of his first love, Yasmine, who died in a dramatic motorcycle accident, soon outweigh the initial reason for his journey. He is saved from the doldrums however by his young niece who introduces him to naïve art — and her unconventional girlfriends. This encounter awakens the enthusiastic poet that had clearly slumbered within him all along.
Mammuth is by no means the dullard that everyone believed him to be. Yasmine’s death all those years ago created an emotional block deep inside; moreover, he felt inhibited by people’s reactions to his ostensible lack of culture. But now the time has come to make up for all that! —Berlinale
Gustave de Kervern (born 1962) is a French film actor, director and screenwriter. He is best known for his collaboration with Benoit Delepine. In 2004 he wrote, directed, and starred in Aaltra with Benoit Delepine. Also with Delepine, he has directed and starred in Avida, which was screened out of competition at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. The duos film Louise-Michel won a Special Jury Prize at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Their latest film Mammuth starred Gérard Depardieu and Isabelle Adjani. It was nominated for the Golden Bear award at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival. —Wikipedia
Benoît Delépine (30 August 1958 –) is a French comedian and film director. He is known for his satirical activities on TV channel Canal+.
Director of the TV program Guignols de l’info for many years, he currently writes TV programs about the fictional country of Groland. He also plays the cynical journalist-reporter Mickael Kael.
In the cinema, Delépine has written and performed in two films. Mickael Kael contre la World News Company, a chess commercial, reprising two elements of the fictional career of the director: his role as a reporter for Groland and the World Company, which he contributed to create for Les Guignols.
In 2004, Aaltra, which he wrote, directed, and starred in with Gustave de Kervern enjoyed critical success. The two companions from the Groland adventure wrote and directed it as a road movie where two enemies travel the roads of northern France and Finland following an accident. Also with Gustave Kervern, he has directed and starred in Avida… read more
Also: Mammuth, What’s Your Number?, Dream House and Buraku.
Above: Yasujiro Shimazu's 1937 film, The Lights of Asakusa. Arriving for the last few days of this year’s Berlinale, at first I thought