Umbra is intended as an artistic film. Its core motif of the search for oneself, answers the questions: Who am I? Why am I? How am I?
The protagonist, Alice, experiences sexual abuse as a child, which is ignored and negated by those in her surroundings. Silence causes the abuse to be pushed out of her consciousness. The consequences, however, are apparent in her life, which appears to her as a dream in which the boundaries between the real and surreal are elusive. Alice struggles alone with her illusions about the world and herself. To discover the truth, she embarks on a journey inside herself.
UMBRA and Psychology
The Inner World of Trauma
Trauma can be realistically portrayed in film by focusing on everyday problems of the victims, accusing the oppressors, denouncing injustice, or by raising trauma’s social and legal aspects. Trauma can also be described through symbolic imagery. It is then that we have a chance to reach the inner world of trauma, describe the indescribable, elusive, irrational. The essence of the symbol is to combine what is conscious and unconscious, rational and irrational. Symbols merge different layers of reality without merging them into one. A symbolic narrative can, therefore, take place in several realities simultaneously. The interpretation of a symbol is the choice of one level of reality as the dominant one. In my film “Umbra” I speak symbolically of child sexual abuse and how it affects adult life. I ask philosophical questions about the truth and sense of existence, as well as theological questions about love and God in the face of experiencing evil. The story of child sexual abuse becomes an archetypal tale of evil initiation. This is possible thanks to telling the story through symbolic images: “Whoever speaks in primordial images speaks with a thousand voices: he enthralls and overpowers… he transmutes our personal destiny into the destiny of mankind, and evokes in us all those beneficent forces that ever and anon have enabled humanity to find a refuge from every peril and to outlive the longest night.” C.G Jung
Child sexual trauma does not allow a child to develop properly, disrupting the entire spectrum of sexual behavior in adult life, causing fear of life, emotional death, lack of contact with reality, dissociation and self-destructive behavior, feelings of shame, guilt and loneliness.
The problem of trauma goes far beyond the sphere of psychological considerations. Trauma destroys faith in the meaning of life and undermines the existence of love.
Urszula Nawrot artist, director, producer, MA in International Relations. She has been dealing with the subject of trauma for 10 years. The film “Umbra” was a kind of an experiment, an attempt to reach the inner world of trauma through an archetypal image. Work on the film lasted 5 years and is a symbolic record of dreams, nightmares, interpersonal struggles, feelings and behaviors of people who have experienced trauma. The impact of the film is the subject of her research and future doctoral dissertation.
The film is recommended by prof. Bogdan de Barbaro, and has won recognition of such professionals as Peter A. Levine. For 5 years it has been shown at psychological and psychiatric conferences, used as a teaching resource in trauma courses.