The Day Thomas Learned To Speak II – Limbo

When talking with my colleague, Umran Ali, at the University of Salford about The Day Thomas Learned To Speak (working title), he introduced me to this new game called Limbo. From what I was describing about my main character, Thomas, an 8 year old boy, and what I said about his state of mind, and some of the scenes I had in mind to express this state, he suggested I take a look at this game Limbo. I’m not much of a games person, but Umran is. He specialises in developing landscapes for games and has produced some wonderful work which you can see on his blog. I had a look at the photos for Limbo (as I have yet to try and play it) and I must say that I was blown away.

The main character in the Limbo game

Here is a boy just like my character, Thomas. He is looking for his sister, but like my character (though for completely different reasons) he is lost in a limbo. The evocative monochrome imagery has strong echoes of the kind of imagery I had in mind for certain scenes and, importantly, one of my considerations was to shoot the whole film in Black and White. The imagery is strikingly simple and its beauty lies in the uncanny simplicity in the story premise, the tones of the textures and the suggestive compositions.

The boy in the forest.

In fact, I have an important scene set in a woods and it was the way this game depicts a boy lost in the woods that first caught my attention. But I also have an important scene – probably the key scene in the film – set on a lake:

The boy in a small sailing boat on a lake.

Of course, we all know that some of the best and most haunting stories about children take place in woods:

A haunting moment for the boy in the woods.

One of the reasons why I was speaking to Umran in the first place, was that I wanted his advice about a game that my character, Thomas, could be playing in the film. This game may well provide the kind of mirror I was hoping that the game would play in the film: a mirror into the feelings of my character. Interestingly, the developers of the game are Danish, like me, and I will be visiting my family near Copenhagen in the next few weeks.