Allegoria

Directed by Hakan Unal

Fiction, Turkey-Spain, 14’ (2021)

Synopsis

A dark prison cell. A woman prisoner who is forced to write with fear, oppression and violence. A prison guard in a military uniform who brings a bowl of soup for her and checks her writings every single day. As the woman feels and experiences pain and violence, she begins to write more and better. The third day, the prison guard finds all the papers have been written and completed. He carefully checks and takes them with him. He for the first time leaves the prison gate open when he goes out. She feels she is free now. She goes out but decides to come back to the prison cell just after the things she saw outside.

Director’s Statement

Why is there so much violence in the world? It’s mad time to be alive. We live in violent times. Each event of great violence prompts feelings of sadness, fear and powerlessness. Sadness, because people were killed. Fear, because we seemed to be heading to a dark place as a country. Powerlessness, because no matter how much we want this all to stop, nothing seems to help.

‘Allegoria’ is a story of a young prisoner woman’s encounter with the violence, fear and reality. It’s the story of a system which turns everything into an issue of suffering, violence and death. It’s a process of the end which is connected to the beginning. Sometimes this process goes in a kind of surreal way.

In Allegoria, prison cell and woman are major figures. In the beginning, the prison cell is established in a calm and secure atmosphere. However, as the story unfolds, it transforms into an embodiment of the unknown. Fear is the greatest reason why the creativity of the woman, a manifestation of God, is being repressed by male-dominated societies with constant violence and hatred. It is nothing for me other than the imprisonment of humanity that people who saw nature and the world as females in ancient times have made everything so masculine today. I am sadly amazed at how the woman, who represented the power of God’s creation, was later placed at the centre of such violence and pain.

In my film, I associate some concepts such as imprisoned femininity with a woman in prison cell, a male-sovereign society serving to the system with a guard in a military uniform, a silenced society with eyes on the wall, the creativity of the woman with the woman’s ability to write, and a society suppressed with inanimate mannequins are allegorically I tried to associate it with the centre of the issue.

The Greek philosopher Plato’s ‘Allegory of the Cave’ inspired me to gather all these scenes, all these themes in my film. We all live in our prison cells in our modern societies. Humans are so blind to the real world; they only see shadows of reality. So incapable of reason and logic, they can accept a flattened dimension. So immersed in our smart phones, televisions and tablets, we only see the world as shadows, thrown by fire light onto the back of the prison cells. Humans are still driven by false Gods and delusions and poor cognition.

I think a black and white film immediately creates the impression that your attention is concentrated on what is most important. In this context, I choose to film Allegoria in black and white to attain a distinctive dramatic impact. Besides, this colour perfectly reflects the bleak atmosphere of the prison cell and effectively represents the fear and violence of the characters.

Setting all these into a dark, sometimes into a surreal atmosphere of an isolating, overwhelming prison cell, I am interested in exploring the limits that one would force, when looking for a way out of dark and what happens after the real world’s light with sufferings and violence infiltrate inside of human’s life. In Allegoria, I want to explore all these feelings of fear, confinement, struggle and hope – which many people consistently face in their cells, caves on earth to different extents – in a small isolated prison cell where they become more tangible.