The Strange Case of “Carlotta’s Face”
What is it like to not recognize faces? Even your own. German studio Fabian&Fred and neuroscientist/filmmaker Valentin Riedl offer answers by turning one woman’s real-life struggles with prosopagnosia (face blindness) into a visually poetic film.
Valentin Riedl: “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.
“Everyone 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 in 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 the 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 these self-portraits.”
Director: Valentin Riedl, Frédéric Schuld
Animator: Frédéric Schuld
Script editor: Valentin Riedl, Frédéric Schuld
Producer: Fabian Driehorst
Sound/music/mix: Simon Bastian