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 (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.
by Sebastian Mihăilescu
with István Téglás, Mălina Manovici, Denisa Nicolae, Steliana Bălăcianu, Rolando Matsangos, Mirela Crețan
Romania / Poland / Germany 2023 Romanian 88’ Colour World premiere


  • István Téglás
  • Mălina Manovici
  • Denisa Nicolae
  • Steliana Bălăcianu
  • Rolando Matsangos
  • Mirela Crețan


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
Producers Diana Păroiu, Ada Solomon
Co-Producers Ewa Puszczyńska, Nina Frese
Co-Production Pandora Film
Extreme Emotions

Produced by


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 Ceaușescu to Me (2021), Mammalia is his second full-length film and his feature debut.


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; 88 min.

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2023