First impressions of Mammoth

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First impressions of Mammoth

Postby oeb » Thu Apr 09, 2009 3:22 pm

Mammoth is playing in cinemas in Norway now (in a fairly limited release though). There was approx. 8 people in the audience on this showing. Promotion has been limited too. It's not a typical film that will attract a large Norwegian audience. So I had to take a trip to Drammen, but nothing wrong in that. I also catched a couple more films while I was there. This doesn't mean it can't get big in other countries; I think the American audience especially can like this film - considering the success of other similar films there.

Anyway, my immediate first impression is that this film can certainly be compared to a mix of "Babel", "Crash" and "Lost in translation" - but the story is not fragmented as much as in "Babel" and "Crash" and you don't move back and forward in time (except for maybe a couple of scenes).

The film draws you in and cause interest from the first minute so Moodysson is certainly back to the public appeal of his first three films, even though there are few direct similarities - except for the heavy use of pop music. Soundtrack request! ;) Director Cameron Crowe also uses music in this way and I like it very much. There is course also Moodysson's returning topic - care for children. The film is not emotional on the same level as his previous works, it's more philosophical and thought-provoking. This is what I mean by comparing it to "Lost in translation" - even though that is a very light film - along with the obvious fact that Mammoth is also about people who are far away from home.

The film is simply a portray of various situations and people at various stages of success, some might say it's naive or "not really about anything", but sometimes it's nice to just observe without really having a traditional storyline. I can see that the comments on imdb.com already ranges from "Fantastic movie!" to "Pointless movie" - and I guess that's the way it should be.

If you liked one or more of the above mentioned films I'm sure you'll like this one. Personally I like "Lost in translation" more than the other too so I could maybe have liked Mammoth to move even further in that direction.

Certainly the films also has a few flaws, i.e. Tom's computer game job is very vaguely described and as a software engineer myself it didn't seem totally believable that he was a "computer geek" (considering he could of course simply do some work in his hotel room instead of being bored all the time, but then again that wouldn't quite fit into the film...). The name used for a computer game and a web site Tom has started were little inventive, but that just me being nit-picky. Other than that I like that it's used real product names when making references (i.e. "Skype", "MySpace") and real screenshots of a computer (rather than a fantasy-OS used in many other films - that just looks stupid).

To continue on the technical side, this is Moodyson's first film in full cinemascope format (2.35:1) and the photography is very good as always - maybe a bit more conservative than his previous works - it certainly doesn't get in the way of the storytelling (i.e. you don't notice it). This might be explained by that cinematographer has changed since "Lilja 4-ever", it's no longer Ulf Brantås but Marcel Zyskind - while the rest of the team behind the camera is more or less the same as always.

Well, that's just my first impressions. I look forward to see the film again on Blu-ray in not too long time. If it turns up in the local cinema eventually I might watch it again there too.
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Postby fish » Fri Apr 10, 2009 4:03 am

There seem to be mixed reviews all over the place for Mammoth, which is probably par for the course for any of Moodysson's films. I think they have all had their share of detractors and advocates but I hope they don't inhibit either the cinema or dvd releases. I am looking forward to seeing/owning it and making up my own mind.

Have any dates been published yet for either wider distribution to theatres or for the dvd release?
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Postby oeb » Fri Apr 10, 2009 1:16 pm

No release date is announced for the Swedish DVD yet (that will of course come first), so I guess no sooner than august/ september.

According to imdb.com the upcoming theatrical release dates known so far are:
Finland: 17 April 2009
Netherlands: 23 April 2009
Denmark: 7 May 2009
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Postby kant1781 » Sat Apr 11, 2009 10:24 am

Thanks for your vary nuanced comments, Ole! I am really looking forward to seeing it.

(And, by the way, I think this films receiving mixed reviews is rather something new for LM :wink: ! As far as I can see, he's in the funny situation that his first three pictures received more ore less univocal rave reviews, while the following two were more or less universally bashed.)
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Re:

Postby fiberchina89 » Fri Jul 31, 2009 6:12 pm

fish wrote:There seem to be mixed reviews all over the place for Mammoth, which is probably par for the course for any of Moodysson's films. I think they have all had their share of detractors and advocates but I hope they don't inhibit either the cinema or dvd releases. I am looking forward to seeing/owning it and making up my own mind.

Have any dates been published yet for either wider distribution to theatres or for the dvd release?


Yes... To Wait for August-September as that it would not be desirable... Though August already has practically come, and there and till September not far... All the same. It would be desirable now and at once.

____________
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Re: First impressions of Mammoth

Postby oeb » Fri Jul 31, 2009 7:44 pm

The DVD is released in Sweden, ref. post Mammoth DVD/ Blu-ray release July 22:
http://showmelove.org/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=918
English subtitles are included for non-English-spoken parts.

Order from nordicdvd.com below.

DVD:
http:/showmelove.org/index.php?lang_id=en&page_id=6&item_id=4834

Blu-ray:
http:/showmelove.org/index.php?lang_id=en&page_id=6&item_id=4835

Mammoth is also playing in cinemas in Belgium currently:
Belgium 8 July 2009
http://www.cinenews.be/Movies.Detail.cf ... 38&lang=en
No further theatrical release dates are listed on imdb.com
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Re: First impressions of Mammoth

Postby mathieu » Sun Nov 01, 2009 2:50 pm

I was in Finland a few weeks ago and my friends decided to rent a movie. As they came home, they immediately started the movie so I didn't know neither the title of the movie, nor what it was about. I missed the beginning of the movie (around 2 minutes) by fetching some food in the kitchen so I also missed the name of the director and actors. When I get back and sat, during the first ten minutes I was thinking : "Wait ! I know this feeling... Last time I had it while watching a movie was with "F-ing Amal". During the entire movie in fact, the movie was touching me deep inside, exactly the same way "F-ing Amal" did. Finally, when the movie was over and I saw "Directed by Lukas Moodysson" on the screen, I said "OK, he did it again, he touched me with a great movie".

oeb wrote:The film draws you in and cause interest from the first minute so Moodysson is certainly back to the public appeal of his first three films, even though there are few direct similarities - except for the heavy use of pop music. Soundtrack request! ;)


This is the first thing I did when the movie ended : go and search for the soundtrack. I did not find a lot (imdb) but I found the band "cat power" with their song "the greatest". I bought online the album "the greatest" and I keep listening over and over. It was the same after "F-ing Amal" when I bought the album of "Broder Daniel" and invidivually all the other song of this movie. Lukas is so gifted that he makes me buy both the dvd and the "soundtrack".

oeb wrote:The film is simply a portray of various situations and people at various stages of success, some might say it's naive or "not really about anything", but sometimes it's nice to just observe without really having a traditional storyline.


I completly agree with you ! "observation" is the perfect word for describing the way I was watching this movie : I couldn't take my eyes off the screen and was continuously thinking about the themes.

oeb wrote:Certainly the films also has a few flaws, i.e. Tom's computer game job is very vaguely described and as a software engineer myself it didn't seem totally believable that he was a "computer geek" (considering he could of course simply do some work in his hotel room instead of being bored all the time, but then again that wouldn't quite fit into the film...).

As a software engineer myself too, this is exactly what I was thinking ! I can stay several weeks in an hotel room if there is an internet connection and a good computer ;)
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Re: First impressions of Mammoth

Postby fish » Mon Nov 02, 2009 8:15 am

Thank you for your comments about Mammoth, Mathieu.
I ordered the dvd a little while ago, (along with Mañana), and now I'm really looking forward to seeing it.
If only oeb would wake up and send it to me. :P
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Re: First impressions of Mammoth

Postby fish » Thu Nov 05, 2009 4:41 am

Watched Mammoth last night. Didn't quite know what to expect but after seeing it I think anyone who gave it a bad review was obviously in the wrong theatre.

This is film-making on a grand scale. There are so many levels to the story, relationships between adults and children, between the rich and the poor, between the first world and the second (nb. not the third), the wastefull excesses of the haves and the searching through garbage of the have-nots. There are also the personal relationships laid out for us to view, between husband and wife, the doctor and the stabbing victim, the tourist and the prostitute, the absent mother and her children. Yet all the while you're aware of the threats to the welfare of these children.

Moodysson has not judged any of these people, he has simply presented their lives to us and given us the opportunity to form our own conclusions. We can chose to do so on any level we want.

If you wait for the hero to save the world you'll be disappointed. If you're looking for full on action, look elsewhere. If you want to see a brilliant film about people dealing with their lives Mammoth is the film you need.
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Re: First impressions of Mammoth

Postby kant1781 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 3:48 pm

Apparently, Mammoth will open in theaters in Germany in June 2010! (Better late than never.)
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Re: First impressions of Mammoth

Postby Ian » Wed Mar 03, 2010 12:50 am

That's almost as long as it took FA to make it Down Under!
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Re: First impressions of Mammoth

Postby kant1781 » Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:32 pm

Yes, pretty embarrassing. :roll: The film had terrible reviews last year here at its international premiere at the Berlin Film Festival, maybe that's the reason why they had difficulties finding a distributor? I don't know. Looking forward to it however, especially after fish's thoughtful review which gave me a lot of hope.
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Re: First impressions of Mammoth

Postby bruno » Thu Mar 11, 2010 11:16 pm

WARNING: A couple of spoilers.

Ok, first disappointment just seconds into the movie: the sleeve says the film has english subtitles, but it has not. Well, english sub are there when people is speaking Tagalog or Thai. Luckily enough, it was not an impossible english to understand so I could watch the movie.
First half hour, I really began to understand the boos Mammoth received in Berlin film Festival. Ok, globalization is bad, children without a mother are unhappy, frak me, did I need wonderman director Moodysson to learn that? I feared another very basic preach like Lilya 4ever.

But no. Mammoth, while simplistic in some parts, has its good moments and is thought provoking. Leo wants to relax, find himself a hole near the beach escaping from the luxury hotels, then wants to be the honest guy and gives the money to the hooker sending her home. But this good guy ends in bed with her anyway.
Ellen is a decent employer to Gloria but she can't avoid bitter resentment because her daughter wants to spend her time with the nanny more than with Ellen the estranged mother. Whatever the good intentions when you have relationships with third world poor and uneducated people often you end being exploitative or exploited, in very visible and often more subtle ways. This I find true, and Moodysson is good at showing it.
Add good acting and you have a pretty decent film with interlocking stories; I'm not disappointed with Mammoth, even if there's not a definite ending.

Still I read this was a rather expensive movie (10 USD millions) with very small return, so I guess it will be difficult for Moodysson to find again this kind of budget.

I found an interesting read about Moodysson reacting to the boos he received in Berlin:
http://www.indiewire.com/article/moodys ... rlin_fest/

Asked, at a post-screening press conference, if he seeks to stir debate with his films, Moodysson was straightforward. “I don’t know if that is what I am aiming for,” he explained, “I want people to react and I don’t mind if they react in a different way.” Continuing the thought, he said, “I don’t make films to start a debate, I make films to express something that I feel deep in my heart. If that turns into a debate somewhere that’s fine, but it is not my main priority.”
[......] Moodysson explained that the idea for “Mammoth” began with the concept of cleaning and maids. And then the filmmaker began reading more about the Phillipines. But, Moodysson cautioned, “Films just happen. In one way you don’t really know where they start.” Continuing he noted, about a previous film, “It’s like when I made ‘Together’, I wanted to make a film about people who had beards. And then it turned into something.”


I didnt watch Together but... a film about people who had beards? :shock: Films just happen?! :lol: I don't know if Moodysson is serious here, but if he really makes films with this happy go lucky attitude, the chances he stumbles in another masterpiece like FÅ are really poor.
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Re: First impressions of Mammoth

Postby Ian » Fri Mar 12, 2010 12:45 am

I often think the creation of a truly great movie - or TV series, come to that - is often as much luck and happy confluence of circumstances as it is talent. That's not to be mean, but I've lost count of the times where I've gone for something because of the writer or director - who has previously achieved something I've adored - and it just doesn't measure up in any department. That's not to denigrate anyone, but I often think there is really some kind of mysterious "x" factor in there somewhere in something that's truly great.
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Re: First impressions of Mammoth

Postby bruno » Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:59 am

@ codyw 1: ok, but producers, directors and other people involved try first to put their act together... I think it's necessary to be focused and THEN you may need to be lucky, to strike a chord in the audience, to get a unusually inspired performance from the actors and have a masterpiece in your hands.

Until they make a first screening, film makers know nothing about the reaction from the viewers. If the first impression is bad, they try to hastily change something: the footage is there, they can't remake the film, but they change what they can in post production (it happened even in Blade Runner, getting the voice overs against the will of director Ridley Scott and main character Harrison Ford).
Sometimes unknown films get a big success, sometimes the intended blockbuster becomes a box office bomb. So, it's really an unpredictable field of work at best, but I don't believe the "films just happen" attitude is the best.
Anyway, I don't think Moodysson was serious about that. He could have done Container or A Hole in my Heart this way, but not Mammoth: there's a careful attention to details there, and a complex story.
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