A few years ago, all my curiosity was focused vaguely on what it means
to be a woman, particularly what it means to be a woman in Turkey. The
first idea was that there’s this filter of sexualization through which
women are perceived in everything that they are, and everything that
they do. That was something I felt from the pre-teen ages onwards,
exactly like the girl characters in the opening of the film, when they
sit on the shoulders of boys and trigger a scandal. I lived that moment
with girls in my family. I remember there was this little signal in me
that said, “OK, your childhood years are over.” I remember starting to
feel this guilt-building, always-blaming quality of being a woman.
In 2011 I wrote a first treatment for the film. But it looked too much
like real-life events and real-life characters, so I put it in a drawer.
A year later I took the project out again, and with the layers and
layers of everything that cinema can offer you, I tried to distance
myself from the real-life events, and also from naturalism. Eventually I
looked at it again and found that the story was still as personal as it
was in the beginning—but was hidden behind layers of storytelling which
were close to a fairy tale. From the moment [I] realized it was a fairy
tale, that style spread to every aesthetic choice in the film, from the
locations, which visually look like drawings, to costumes and choice of
music. We were building a universe of our own.