The film had its world premiere in the Forum section of the 73rd edition of the Berlin International Film Festival
The surrealist drama "Mammalia", directed by Sebastian Mihăilescu, had its world premiere in the Forum section of the 73rd edition of the Berlin International Film Festival and has recently entered cinema halls across Romania. The film was screened for the first time in Romania in Cluj-Napoca as part of the Transylvania International Film Festival - TIFF. The film was also selected at the Uruguay Film Festival and was included in the SMART7 Competition, an itinerant program that highlights innovative voices and which is founded by seven prestigious festivals. "Mammalia" was also shown at Kino Pavasaris in Vilnius (Lithuania) and IndieLisboa (Portugal). "Mammalia" (a Romania-Germany-Poland coproduction) is a surreal journey through the crisis of masculinity, written by Sebastian Mihăilescu and Andrei Epure, and it combines drama with mystery and comedy.
Sebastian Mihăilescu spoke at RRI about how he came to make a film, about the type of filmmaking in Mammalia, about the SMART7 competition and the international trajectory of the film: "In terms of approach, I tried to get closer to a poetic cinema. A poetic cinema that makes full use of the cinema means, obviously, such as editing, time, light, and for this reason I also assumed the film as an analog medium. I probably chose this approach also because I'm afraid of time. It's all about my struggle with time, my fear of time, things that I also shared during the Q & A sessions. Regarding SMART7, it's the first time that a Romanian film is selected in this circuit. This month the film will also have two screenings in Reykjavík, I will definitely attend one of them, and it will also be screened in Thessaloniki. Returning to the discussion about time, for me, cinema is my second career, which I started at 27. Before starting filmmaking, I was an IT engineer. This year I turned 40 and I think this is a turning point for any human being. I was not really happy with my IT career at the time, that's why I abandoned it. Initially I wanted to be a painter, but I didn't have the courage, then I wanted to be an architect, again I didn't have the courage. That's how I ended up at the Polytechnic University, but at the same time I studied design, I continued to paint and do street art. But the wish to express myself through art was always there, it remained there, I tried to express myself somehow, and somehow the film connected all these skills, namely my passion for writing, my passion for painting, image and photography."
In Mammalia, István Téglás plays Camil, a 39-year-old man who embarks on an oneiric journey where the mundane and the fantastic intertwine. Having lost control over his work, his social status and his love relationship, Camil embarks on a quest that makes him question his identity and his masculinity. As he follows his partner, he ends up in a bizarre community with disturbing rituals, where he eventually experiences a tragicomic reversal of roles.
István Téglás admits that the role of Camil was one of the most demanding in his entire career: "It was very difficult for me, and I often got anxious. This way of working on a film, when you never know what's going to happen the next day, obviously creates all kinds of moods for you. Moreover, after several days of work you start getting tired, given that you have many shooting sessions a day, sometimes from five in the morning, for example. But I tried to focus, I tried to be present, that was the most important thing, and I think I succeeded. Indeed, it was a very demanding and physical role, and I say this even though I am used to this kind of work, I have played demanding roles in theater shows as well. So I was trained, prepared in that sense, but there were quite a few challenges. For example, I had to go into the water at the end of October, when it was cold outside. In these conditions, the diving suit helps you up to a point, but beyond that, all you need is to be resilient. Mammalia is a film where the director gave me freedom, but he also gave me a kind of direction, because the situations I had to perform were clear. So I didn't feel lost for a second."
István Téglás also talked about the collaboration he had on Mammalia with non-professional actors: ”In general, I like to work with people who don't have a degree in acting because it seems to me that they have a much greater openness than professional actors. I knew this, I wanted to work with amateur actors, this has actually happened. We got along very well and, in a way, in those moments, I let them lead me more, instead of me leading them. And I enjoyed doing that, although generally, as an actor, it's not easy to do that. Because you want or are tempted, most of the time, to lead the whole play. But the Mammalia experience was a happy case.”
Besides István Téglás, the cast of the movie Mammalia includes Mălina Manovici, Denisa Nicolae, Steliana Bălăcianu, Rolando Matsangos, Mirela Crețan, Andreea Gheorghe, Mircea Bujoreanu, Marian Pîrvu, Dan Zarug Mihai and Elena Chingălată. (LS)