La Mère du Monstre. Working with a thermal imaging camera system

The experimental feature film "La Mère du Monstre" is an attempt to visualize dreams and inner visions. Filmed entirely with a thermal imaging camera, the result is a surreal, immersive texture close to animation.

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Sebastian Lang's "La Mère du Monstre" is the first feature film ever to be entirely shot on a thermal camera system. Thermal imaging techniques use infrared waves to create an abstract image of the world by mapping its heat structures. This enabled the team to shoot even in pitch-black, water-filled subterranean caves.

The actors becoming spectral traces, their body heat glowing in the encompassing darkness: The simplicity of these images involve the spectator in a process of visualization sometimes similar to reading a novel. „And I slowly walked into a dark cave …“. The image of the cave is completed in the reader’s mind.

The transformation of live action into the digital obstruction of as-if-animated images creates an intriguing uncanniness - nightmarish and eerie - challenging the audience’s perception.

The very real settings of the story became archetypical places, blending with the spectator’s memory and imagination. In combination with handcrafted masks and make-up the team created a unique visual universe that resembles computer games just as much as early silent pictures.

Director, project lead: Sebastian Lang

Producer: Sebastian Schubert