Friday, March 18, 2011

"Before Breakfast" Directed by Moema Umann

BEFORE BREAKFAST was accepted and will be screened at the SHORT CORNER @ CANNES FESTIVAL. I had the pleasure to be a part of this project, and I would like to share a bit of it with you.

Moema Umann is the type of person whom anything she touches will turn out to be successful. She does it with passion, and she does it with love and commitment.


--- Alfred Rowland finds himself trapped by an unaware life of self destruction. His tormented wife, emotionally and physically, reminds him in order to face what he has created. Alone in his room, will he discover the answer? ---



Many years ago I worked on the one act play “Before Breakfast” by Eugene O’Neill. On this play we see only a woman on the stage and we know, through her words, that her husband Alfred is in the other room. During the whole play we never see him, we just imagine him. As she speaks and points out their personal problems, we get to understand that Alfred is hung over, waking up, getting dressed and shaving in the bedroom. And that is all the information we get from her about what he is doing in the other room. As the action happens, at the end, again, only through her words and actions, we assume that he just killed himself.
While working on the play it was Alfred’s character that always intrigued me the most.  I kept asking myself, what was this man doing while his wife was talking restlessly? How miserable his life could be? Why he never answered her, not even once? Etc. This question also resonated a lot with my own personal life. Being a suicidal survival (that is how people who lost a loved one to suicide is called) I felt the necessity of bringing the theme up. There is still a big taboo around this subject, no ones talk about it. Now looking back, I wished somebody would have talked to me about how to cope with it. Having all that in mind, I decided to do the opposite of what Eugene O’Neill brilliantly did.  On this movie I show only Alfred’s point of view of the situation. On the movie we only hear her, we never see her. And throughout her lines, we see what is happening to him in the bedroom. Differently to the play, on this movie version we never see her, we just imagine her. It is very important to make clear that this film is not based or inspired on Eugene O’Neill’s idea of what happens to Alfred. Even though we hear the words he wrote, Ms. Rowland doesn’t mention what he is doing in the room throughout the whole time of the play, and personally, I do not believe it is fair to assume that what I imagined he was doing in the room is also what O’Neill would have had imagined for him. And by choosing not to show her, and choosing just to hear her how Alfred hears her, we only understand a less deep facade of her character, what is also not what Eugene O’Neill shows on his brilliant play with all the details that can be explored. Saying all that, I strongly affirm that this movie is purely telling a story of a man fighting his personal battles, in the way he sees his situation at that specific morning after all he put himself through.

To achieve that idea, the camera plays different roles on this production. At some moments it is an observer, sometimes it is his eyes, sometimes his memories and at last it is an emotional commentator about how the story ends.  

Moema Umann

Press Kit will be available on the website, soon.

Thursday, March 03, 2011


"Although we've never met, you have truly inspired me."
- Anonymous
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