The Award winning, London-based film director Werner Schumann has two feature films being released this year in the USA market, Absolution, A gangster film written by Carlos L. Vogt and produced by JoernZielke. The film follows a hitman working for the Russian mafia. The cast includes Tomas Spencer (Exploitation), Denis Lyons (Head to Love) and Nora Huetz (Mesphisto-Effekt). His second release is the “The Widow’s Moon”.
Werner Schumann has a multicultural background: his father’s family is German and his mother’s is Italian-Brazilian. He studied photography, scriptwriting, editing and film production. Schumann started his career directing experimental short films in super 8 in Brazil where he grew up. He directed “Pioneers of Cinema” (1995) for TV (winner of the Golden Tatu as “Best Fiction” at the XXI International Bahia Film Festival) and experimental short films like “Birth Labor“, “Volk!” and “O Poeta e a Rainha“, screened at Oberhausen Film Festival. In 2001, he co-produced and co-directed the low budget romantic comedy “Where the Poets Die First”, screened in several film festivals. In 2009 he released with the support of TVE – Spanish Television, the feature drama “Sun in the Mist”, winner of the TVE Awards at the San Sebastian International Film Festival. In 2010 he released the experimental black and white drama “O Coro”, premiered at the prestigious Mar del Plata Film Festival. In 2011 Schumann won the “Best Director” Award for his feature film “O Coro” at the 21st Ibero-American Cine Ceara Film Festival in Brazil. In 2015 he was invited to direct the international feature “Absolution”, a German-UK co-production with a cast of English, American, Turkish, German and Russian actors. His latest feature release is the
The Widow’s Moon, a strong psychological drama written & Directed by, Werner Schumann. The cast includes Shaun Paul McGrath (Endgame, The Invisibles) and Hanni Bergesch(The Gray Woman) Benjamin Benner an upcoming Irish artist and his wife Frau Benner, living in a remote village in the Bavarian hills, battle through their tormented relationship of love,fear, loyalty and veracity. The story’s through-line makes an opposition in the plots ‘reality’; manipulation, coercion and control are at the centre of the narrative. Who is the puppeteer? Many question come to mind when watching the story unfold. A clever storyline which shows how the activity and mood of human beings is related to the cycles of the moon. The movie comprises genres in horror, thriller, suspense, and romance.
There is an eerie sense of easiness, foreboding and calamity, communicated in The Widow’s Moon. The latest feature film from Brazilian director,Werner Schumann, due for release later this year. The psychological thriller stars, Shaun Paul McGrath, HanniBergesch and J. David Hinze, who plays their friend and Psychiatrist, Dr. Gunther.
Benjamin and Frau Benner live in a secluded village in the Bavarian countryside in South Germany. Benjamin is an aspiring artist who is looking to establish himself much more in the art world. However, struggles soon emerge in Ben’s envisioned rise to recognition and fame, which results in friction within his marriage. Simultaneously, his wife keeps witnessing strange occurrences around the house, as she seemingly loses her grip on reality. When reality and fantasy collide, it is upto Ben,with the help of his friend Dr Gunther, to help his wife make sense of the world. A world that threatens to tear everything apart everything they hold dear.
Director and screenwriter Werner Schumann, ensures the atmospheric tension slowly envelops the viewer as he takes the viewer on a psychological expedition, before moving to reveal everything at the end. Schumann develops the central mystery slowly, as a difficult marriage coincides with a malevolent presence. This reality bending thriller arcs with great success, Schumann keeps the audiences hooked throughout, as he slowly peels the layers off the storyline to reveal a surprising end.
The handheld cinematography of Elias Trad(Furious 7, AllatHaddah) adds a layer of authenticity to the story. This gives the audience a front seat voyeuristic view of the world which they are being mysteriously lead in to.The haunting score keeps the audience on their toes, yet creates an inquisitive feel for the audience. The use of colour throughout the film deserves special accolades as Schumann uses bright red hues to signify Ben’s turn to the “dark side”. The location and set design, although simplistic, is vibrant and authentic with European German culture, giving off a retro artistic naturalistic look and feel. Exposition is intentionally kept to a minimum, with the audience being nudged in directions to figure out the “truth” behind the events. Schumann certainly knows how to evoke maximum uneasiness and fear with his Psycho-eques sequence. This is seen in Ben’s character as he as he battles with his demon induced world.
Shaun Paul McGrath, an obvious method actor, sends chills down the spine of the viewer as he delves deep into the psyche of his character. He battles his personal demons and some very ‘real’ ones, in his quest to attain professional success, whilst trying to keep his marriage on track. The role demands much from McGrath, simultaneously a loving husband but he maintains a menacing presence as someone who is seemingly losing their grip on reality. McGrath’s character provides the bedrock for the thriller and maintains a captivating and encapsulating performance throughout.
Sharing the screen with McGrath is his onscreen wife Frau Benner, played by Hanni Bergesch, while J. David Hinze play sthe compassionate family and friend psychiatrist. Yet you cannot help see their friend as a puppeteer at times, which brings another possible arch to the storyline.Once again a clever piece of writing. Both Bergesch and Hinze give earnest performances that elevate the story from a character perspective. This is important because Bergesch is the emotional centre of the entire narrative, her character craves a loving secure family. We see Hanni’s character transform from a strong loving wife, to a shell of her former self, immobilized by her demons. A beautiful sensitive naturalistic performance alongside McGrath, both leads have a synergetic on-screen chemistry, which only helps elevate the entire film to a very watchable stimulating conclusion.
Harrowing and disturbing, The Widow’s Moon is both a portrait of a marriage falling apart, as well the slow deconstruction of a disturbed mind, before it plunges into chaos and uncertainty. With crisp cinematography that uses colour to elicit emotion and with a slow heartbeat pacing in the unfolding storyline, The Widow’s Moon is a potent mystery thriller that employs the shortcomings in the human condition to deliver a narrative of intrigue and uneasiness. Once you begin to watch it, you have to see it through. Both Shaun Paul McGrath and Hanni Bergesch, remain at the top of their form, both of their astute and deep character performances helps carry the entire film to an unexpected conclusion. Writer and director Werner Schumann has definitely produced a slow-burn psychological thriller worth watching. Highly recommended.