It is a proud moment for India as painter-filmmaker Manoj Mauryaa successfully screens his German feature film titled ‘Con Anima’ at the highly reputed Metropolis Cinema in Neuwied, Germany. The film was screened for a private preview to a fully packed theatre of 200 guests including the film’s cast, crew, film critics, journalists, distributors, and film connoisseurs. Manoj couldn’t attend the preview because of the Covid related restrictions but he interacted with the audience through a video message. The film concluded with a standing ovation and a high-pitched ululation. After watching the film, Anke Kern, one of the actors in the film said “The film is beyond what I could ever imagine! I never thought while shooting that I am going to be a part of this rich musical indie cinema!” A critic shared his opinion, “The film has a different style of storytelling. It blends European classicalism with contemporary experimental narrative. Though I expected more music in the film.”
Con Anima is a musical drama about the struggles of a young soloist, Emma who gets injured before a prestigious symphony concert and is trying to replace Walter, a local florist who is a prodigious dyslexic violinist as a concertmaster in her place. The film explores how the new generation of musicians are changing the landscape of music while addressing the issue of the inclusivity of musically dyslexic people into mainstream music. The cast and crew of the film are mainly German nationals. Theatre artist Alexander Pluquett plays a blind floral shop owner, Theodor under whom Walter, played by Felipe Ludes works as a florist. Jana Sophie Weyer plays Emma, the soloist of the symphony orchestra. The music of the film is composed by Winfried Vögele who also portrays the role of Frank Schubert, the renowned symphony conductor in the film. The direction of photography for the film is done by Eckart Reichl who has several social and political films, documentaries, essays, and theatre films to his credit. The film is written and directed by Manoj Mauryaa and produced by WESDM Movies, an independent production house based in Germany that endorses and creates new age and experimental cinema.
Was it not difficult for an Indian director to make a film in a foreign language especially German which is considered as one of the most highly inflected languages? “Language is required for communicating information whereas cinema communicates emotions which surpasses all the barriers of geographies, cultures, and languages”, says Manoj. When asked why did he chose Germany to shoot his film, Manoj says “My film required principles of balance and formal discipline of orchestra music and what better country than Germany who has world-class stature in western classical music, traditional choir singing, and orchestra performances.”
Whether it is his visual storytelling or his musical aestheticism, Manoj’s art and cinema appeals to the universe audience. Con Anima packs tender love between two young hearts, scintillating music, lots of humour, and high emotional turmoil. The film is expected to be released across Europe during Christmas.