Romania, Poland, Germany / 2023
88 min. / Original version with English subtitles
One of the many virtues of Sebastian Mihăilescu’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, Mihăilescu 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 Bălăşoiu (Cristi Puiu's Sieranevada DoP), 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. (Luciano Monteagudo)
Production Diana Păroiu, Ada Solomon. Production company microFilm (Bukarest, Romania). Director Sebastian Mihăilescu. Screenplay Andrei Epure, Sebastian Mihăilescu. Cinematography Barbu Bălășoiu. Editing Cătălin Cristuțiu. Music Piotr Kurek. Sound design Alin Zăbrăuțeanu, Dragoș Cătărău. Sound Krzysztof Stasiak. Production design Anca Lazăr. Costumes Małgorzata Trzaskowska. Make-up Katrin Paas, Andreea Lupu. Co-producer Ewa Puszczyńska, Nina Frese. Co-production Pandora Film, Extreme Emotions. With István Téglás, Mălina Manovici, Denisa Nicolae, Steliana Bălăcianu, Rolando Matsangos, Mirela Crețan.
World sales Lights On.
Sebastian Mihăilescu, born in 1983 in Făgăraș, Romania, he studied computer science before going on to study at and graduate from the National University of Theatre and Film in Bucharest. Sebastian Mihăilescu works as an author, director and producer. Following the documentary film YOU ARE CEAUSESCU TO ME (2021), MAMMALIA is his second full-length film and his feature debut.
Films: 2012: Titza (14 min.). 2014: Honeymoon (12 min.). 2016: An Ambiguous Geographical Area, but, for now, Let's Call It a Delta (15 min.), Old Luxurious Flat Located in an Ultra-Central, Desirable Neighborhood (19 min.). 2021: You Are Ceaușescu to Me (91 min.). 2023: Mammalia.