movie: Mammuth

First time at the cinema this YEAR!! That is disgraceful and I am ashamed of myself.  It has been a busy year so far and also me and the Mrs don’t really share much of the same taste in movie experience so we haven’t made much of an effort.  After tonight I don’t really see this improving.  We started by looking at the listings and the options available included “pirates of the caribbean on stranger tides” which I wouldn’t watch in 2D or 3D after the mess of the last two films.  “The Hangover 2“, missed the first one & don’t like the look of this… “X-men: First Class” not a massive fan, would watch this on TV but, not for tonight “Senna” looks interesting but D didn’t fancy a documentary about a F1 driver..  “Thor” – no thanks… “Last Night” was seriously considered, but I wasn’t sure and it did start fairly late on a ‘school night’ so finally D agreed to my choice of “Mammuth” at the GFT.  I don’t think I will get to choose again!

Mammuth is a french film staring Gérard Depardieu in the story of a 60 year old who has just retired from his job in a slaughterhouse.  The first few scenes of a man trying to adjust to retired life are very funny, then he starts to chase down his benefits.  I don’t know much about the French social security system, except that they retire at 60(!!), but in order to get his full benefits he needs to get some kind of proof from his previous employers.  Since he doesn’t have this information he jumps on his old Mammuth motorbike to track down his old employers for the requisite paperwork.  The road-movie then traces through a multitude of places where he used to live and work switching frequently between serious and comic events.

It is a darkly comic movie and very ‘french’ in that it is very ‘un-Hollywood’  French cinema (and European cinema in general) tends to be non-narrative, or at least doesn’t follow the narrative structure of a typical Hollywood movie.  So we aren’t presented with the main character in the usual way, we don’t get told their position, back story, current events in their life, social standing, etc but everything is left to develop over the course of the movie.  There are long shots of little happening which paces the movie beautifully but would simply be cut from a Hollywood movie.  I forgot how different these things were and I think this is why D’ didn’t like it at all.

Some of the subject matter was dark, but I did think that the plot worked out nicely in the end, with Serge putting to bed things that seemed to have haunted him from his past (a crash that killed his first love) and was able to return to his wife and rediscover how much he loved her.  There were a number of very funny visual jokes and situational absurdities, but also a few more disturbing scenes that I would rather not go into.  Over all I really enjoyed this movie for what it is  – a French movie falling somewhere between social realism, satire and comedy.  It is not a mainstream hollywood film in any way.

I wonder when I will get to pick a movie again :-/

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