Mother is a surreal exploration of the subconscious of a mother, the role that she has to fulfil and the fear of being replaced. This film aims to take the viewer through a surreal journey of a suburban family, that’s humorous, unnerving and obscure.
The audience first encounters the reality of this film as an atmospheric exploration of suburban family life. The introduction of the crate into the family household leads the audience to believe that what they are about to witness will change their perception of the family's reality forever, and in a way it does. It is the moment of Grace's comedic reveal of the SMEG that sits at the crux of this short film. The script carefully balances the art between horror and humour - the essence is in the balance of the two.
This is where the power of the script lies and why I feel it would work as a powerful short film. The tone of this film should play with the surreal nature of the script while engaging with it's comedic set up. I think the film should be shot like an atmospheric horror keeping the photographic works of Gregory Crewdson and Philip Lorca diCorcia in mind and combine these with comedies such as Zombieland. The film threads along the line of the obscure and the known, moving in and out of the real and surreal. First we question Grace's perceptions of the SMEG but with each scene we sink further into her reality.
Mother, examines issues of intimacy, family dynamics and human connection whilst allowing the audience to surrender to a visually stimulating script. By filming this film as a horror we can connect to core issues of the film without having to spell them out word by word. By creating atmospheric tension in the imagery we can play with the audiences perception allowing humour to act as the pay off rather than murder.
Horror films allow us to reflect on the harsh realities of our present moment, on conditions that are difficult to confront head-on. Though this film is set in a surreal reality, horror can function as a window on, and critique of, the present. Mother, comments on the fears of being replaced and taken for granted by your own family. It also remarks on a throw away culture that replaces gadgets regularly rather than trying to fix them.
THOUGHTS ON CHARACTERS & Casting
It is important to highlight the growing isolation of Grace within the family. The SMEG should have the presence of a character not just an appliance.
Hard working and dedicated, in a routine, servant to the family. Most human, real, relatable compared to her family. Her family becomes more and more robotic with the presence of the SMEG. They become products just like the SMEG.
Chris appears as a good-natured charming man. He is sweet to his children and caring towards the family but there is something wrong with this picture. There is an underlying edge to his nature. Is he going through a midlife crisis, has he been brainwashed or was this his plan all along?
CHLOE & PETER
These children look like picture perfect cut outs of children. Angelic in appearance but there is something unsettling beneath their smile. With every moment the SMEG is in their life they become more and more mechanical almost like robotic puppets. One should question if these children are being programmed or brainwashed.
VISUAL INSPIRATION MOTHER
More images can be found here: https://www.pinterest.com/JannaKemperman/mother/
The Colour palette for this film should emphasise the atmosphere created in the script. Dark greens and blues will allow depth and mystery, while adding a popping colour like yellow or red will lift certain elements in the composition.
Lighting and feel reminiscent of the photography by Gregory Crewdson and Philip - Lorca diCorcia. The obscure and the real - the battle between comfort (home) and discomfort (the presence of an outsider).
Within the composition we are creating a space for isolation, although the family is present Grace feels separated from them.
Visually there should be a meditative rhythm to the camera. The camera observes the family creating a presence much like the SMEG. Framing Grace in the doorways of the house will draw a connection between her and the SMEG.
It is important to keep the SMEG (or lack of) present in each shot. The SMEG is either invading the space or is about to. The audience should feel like the SMEG is always watching. This will aid in creating a presence on screen and allowing the audience to feel an ever present watchful eye.
The SMEG has an aura, it looms like the monolith from 2001. The light that shines from the SMEG should be eerie, a presence of something else. It should appear different from the other lighting int the rooms. We can create the light by placing fluorescent tubing in the SMEG.
VISUAL REFERENCES SMEG
Sound will be hugely important in this production to add to the tension and eerie feeling of the movie. The hum of the fridge should be ever present throughout. The audience should have a subconscious awareness of the SMEG always being present.
The soundtrack of Gone Girl is strong in creating tension and atmosphere while the soundtrack of Ex- Machina gives the edge and feel of 'the other' (of another world). Both references would work well for the score for Mother.
Mother comments on the fear of being replaced in a throw away culture. It is a mystery that is brim with comedic relief. Surreal imagery will be combined with situational humour to create a visual exploration of a family deep in the throws of a life changing mystery.
The audience for this film would be those that enjoy a mystery, an obscure reality with the pay off of a comedy. The viewers drawn to this film would be those that enjoy watching, Stranger Things, Twin Peaks and Zombieland.
STills From Janna Kemperman's previous Work
Janna Kemperman and D.O.P. Michael Gilbert have worked together on numerous projects the last few years. These images are taken from their recent projects.
Janna Kemperman is a filmmaker and choreographer based in Dublin. Her practice explores the interplay between film and movement, which come together to form experimental narrative films that examine identity and human interactions. Janna graduated from IADT in 2013 after which she went on to work in film in Germany and Ireland. She has since returned to Ireland to concentrate on her won work as a director and filmmaker. Her most recent work was HEN, a psychological thriller which was filmed in April 2017 and is currently in post production. Her short film ‘Waiting on a Train’ won the audience award, best film and best director at the 48HFP in Dublin and went on to screen in England and America.
Her work concentrates on the dynamics between people, social structures and the interplay between the real and surreal. She likes to take people on a journey that transports them from the image on the screen into their own imagination