Malika, a transgender woman, and Mohamed, are a young couple from Kabul, who fled their families honour killing plan and Taliban's fatal punishments, in order to be able to be together and cultivate their forbidden love for each other. Regardless of poverty, fear of deportation, daily harassment, sexual violence and gender identity crisis, their love towards each other, keep them fighting for a better life in Turkey. We follow their challenging journey and transformation from scratch through registration for Turkish residency, seeking help in NGO's and even "adopting" a new member to their self-made family from the streets.
As their life seems to get better from the outside, unexpected and darker perspectives surface, and leave the audience to question the muddy waters of ethics between victimhood and becoming a perpetrator.
CONTEXT FOR THE FILM
This film offers a micro level insight to a macro level crisis. Turkey has 4 million refugees, here among a large community of illegal Afghans. Since US troops withdrew from Afghanistan during the Summer of 2021, this number has been growing exponentially.
Neither Turkey nor Afghanistan are safe countries to live in for the LGBT community. Despite The UN's and NGO's intense efforts to improve the situation, most LGBT refugees still live in extreme vulnerability and awe.
This story is an in depth, intimate and personal story, depicting a subjective example, that reflects a much bigger scale of human suffering from international conflicts. The film intends to put a human face on bigger problems, with the hope to cultivate empathy and insight. Furthermore, it wishes to unfold the complexity of moral navigation in a sphere of mental and physical suffering.
The film is using the environments around the subjects allegorically to support the narratives of the characters. We chose to have one main character, a young transgender woman, Malika, and we use her perspective and narration, supported by the side characters, who all are key persons in her life and journey. This brings the story forward and creates a subject of identification, simultaneously with additional perspectives to either back up or contradict her reality.
We want to show not just the joy and ease in human life, but moreover the scars, failure, disorder, distortion. Perfection is to us not the most interesting point, instead it is the chaotic love and struggle, that bring us humans together and touch each other. To show that our lives and values might be different, but the basic emotions are universal.
In "Transformation" we have mainly used three kinds of footage in our project. The first one is the real footage we took from our subjects and their surroundings. The second part is some archive footage taken by our subjects with their personal cellphones. The last footage type is animation, where we have made small sequences, used as transitions between different parts of the film. By combining these three styles, we use both the tools of direct and metaphorical storytelling. We intended to shoot each scene and situation with three different kinds of focal lenses. The first one was shot by an Osmo Pocket 2.
An action camera was used for capturing the environments of our subjects. We felt obliged to use this because with such camera, we minimized the amount of attention attracted in a sensitive neighbourhood, plus it reduced the danger for our subjects. The second kind was shot by a 50 mm normal lens in interior locations, for the purpose to catch the subjects' emotional state of mind and details in their environment. The final types were the telephoto-lenses, used for situations where a lower depth of field were desired, to depict our subjects' detachment from their environments. In each sequence, we began our shots with Osmo Pocket 2 and wide lens. At the end of every scene, we finished by using telephoto-lenses, so we could separate and focus more on bringing our subjects' empirical perceptions into a film format.