The 3rd Complementary Day of Year 13

Produced, Directed, Edited by Louis Hay
DoP: Moritz Freudenberg
Set Design: Leander Kreissl
Costume Design: Ines Dautel
Pierre Méchain: Adrian Hörr
Jean-Baptiste Delambre: Georg Thanner
Sound Design / Music: Manuel Sékou
Hair Stylist / Wigs: Beate Bauer
Lighting Designer: Robert Sampławski
Prop Production: Luis Benz
Assistant Camera: Ferdinand Klotzky
Assistant Director: Juliet Carpenter
Thanks to: Naspa Stiftung, Die Fabrik Frankfurt, Schweizer5


In the French Revolutionary calendar, the 3rd Complementary Day of Year 13 marks the day of death of Pierre Méchain. He was one of two scientists commissioned to measure the length of the meridian arc between Dunkirk and Barcelona, from which the original meter-unit was to be calculated. Pierre Méchain made mistakes in his calculations, resulting in the original meter prototype to become just a bit too short. Méchain, fearing for his reputation and seven years of painstaking work, tried to keep his mistake a secret. Only his colleague, Jean-Baptiste Delambre, knew of the secret, but remained silent about it. Years later, Pierre Méchain returned to Spain to correct his false measurements. To his misfortune he arrived at the same time as the yellow fever epidemic, which transmitted through bites of infected mosquitoes. In late summer of 1804, just days before the new revolutionary year was to commence, Pierre Méchain succumbed to the fever.