This short film by brain scientist Valentin Riedl and animation artist Frédéric Schuld illustrates the world of Carlotta where faces do not exist.
This film received more than 230 festival selections and over 30 awards.
Directors’ Statement (English)
In my scientific work, I aim to uncover the mysteries of human brain function. Carlotta has tremendously broadened my knowledge about this fascinating organ by highlighting the importance of personal, non-objectifiable perception. Any one of us has a different view of the world. Frédéric Schuld has translated Carlotta’s individual perception into drawings that were fully inspired by her lithographic self-portraits.
During evolution, humans have developed a brain region specialized on processing faces. While our eyes only capture singular aspects of a face, it is the brain that integrates these impressions into a holistic percept of a face. Around 1% of the world population suffers from face blindness, a deficit of recognizing faces, even the own one. Carlotta’s story better communicates the complexity of human brain function than any research paper. She describes with sincereness, how small deviations in perception can lead to social isolation and lack of understanding from others – just because we assume that everybody has the same view of the world.
Carlotta translates the deficit of her brain into beautiful art of haptic self-portraits. With her eyes closed, in complete darkness, she touches her face and puts on paper what she feels. By replacing vision with touch, she finally perceives her face as an entity and thereby recognizes herself. The visual style of the film imitates the lithographic process Carlotta uses for producing her self-portraits. Only few layers of color create an intense and complex landscape when applied with varying pressure. From up close, we observe Carlotta in the film exploring a landscape that turns out to be her face once we get an idea of the whole map.