Films 2023


88 min.
Year of Production:
Romania, Poland, Germany
István Téglás
Mlina Manovici
Denisa Nicolae
Steliana Blcianu
Rolando Matsangos
Mirela Crea
Production Company:
microFILM, Extreme Emotions, Pandora Film
Berlinale Section:
Berlinale Category:
Feature Film

One of the many virtues of Sebastian Mihilescu’s startling first feature Mammalia is that you never know where he’s taking you. From one scene to another, the film is always unpredictable, even disconcerting. This is the same feeling Camil (István Téglás), a troubled young man, experiences. He feels diminished and insecure with the women around him, especially with his partner, who disappears to join a secret community of women dedicated to eerie fertility rituals somewhere near a lake. But Mammalia rejects the very notion of synopsis. In the surrealist tradition, Mihilescu works with free associations, some of them as funny as they are unsettling, like when the shadow of Camil’s bald head over his partner's naked body begins to look like a huge penis. A dream or wishful thinking? Masculinity and gender roles are always at stake in Mammalia, and always in crisis. Shot on vivid 16mm by Barbu Bloiu (DoP on Cristi Puiu’s Sieranevada), Mammalia privileges fixed shots with movements within the frame, and the use of space is always very expressive. Its weird humor is reminiscent of Roy Andersson. But Romania has its own tradition, that of Eugen Ionescu and The Theatre of the Absurd.

FILMOGRAFIE Sebastian Mihăilescu (selection)


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