Frosty reception for "Mammoth" at Berlin fest

BERLIN Sun Feb 8, 2009 6:53pm GMT

Actor Gael Garcia Bernal arrives for the screening of the movie 'Mammoth' at the 59th Berlinale film festival in Berlin, February 8, 2009. REUTERS/Johannes Eisele

Actor Gael Garcia Bernal arrives for the screening of the movie 'Mammoth' at the 59th Berlinale film festival in Berlin, February 8, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Johannes Eisele

BERLIN (Reuters) - Swedish director Lukas Moodysson tries to put a human face on globalisation with his movie "Mammoth" but its first press screening got a frosty reception at the Berlin film festival Sunday.

"Mammoth," like several other films in this year's festival, is set in multiple locations and languages. The action shifts from New York to the Philippines and Thailand with one family linked to all three dramatically different settings.

"It's about how all of us on this planet are connected with each other -- whether we like it or not," Moodysson told a news conference after a rowdy press screening when the competition film was loudly booed.

"I was a bit surprised because I see the ending one way, but the audience seems to have different opinions about it," he said when asked to talk about the finale that seemed to trigger the response. "I don't know. I don't really want to answer it."

Later Moodysson, who won acclaim for his 1998 film "Show Me Love" and "Lilya 4-ever" in 2002, added: "If some people think the film is good and others don't, well I make films to express something that's deep in my heart and not to start a debate."

Featuring Mexican heartthrob Gael Garcia Bernal as a computer game tycoon married to an overworked emergency room doctor played by Michelle Williams, the film shows how their eight-year-old daughter grows up closer to the Philippine nanny.

Williams is unable to connect with her daughter, who prefers to join her nanny in church than spend evenings with her mother. Williams tries to drown her guilt by buying expensive presents.

Yet the nanny, played by Marife Necesito, is only in New York to send money back to support her two young sons and mother -- who would otherwise live in squalor -- and is heartbroken to be separated from them, probably until they are grown up.

Bernal's character jets off to Thailand for a business deal and ends up making all sorts of discoveries about another downside of globalisation -- the sex trade.

With a steady stream of starkly contrasting images between an over-stuffed refrigerator and the luxury lifestyle of New York, for instance, and the poverty of the Philippines and Thailand, the film explores globalization's impact on humans.

As it was Moodysson's first English-language film, that in itself was also a nod to globalisation.

This year's festival was opened by another multi-location film, "The International," about an international bank that takes huge and morally dubious risks to control more debt.

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