Cellar of Freedom

by Esin Ustundag

Short Film*
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Cellar of Freedom' is a short film about a patient, Michael Bastien, being incarcerated in the psychiatric ward of a mental institution due to his recent acts of 'insanity.'







Cellar of Freedom
A short film by Esin Ustundag










Michael Bastian: A 25 year old man who is a patient in a mental institution.

Michael Bastian’s soul: Michael Bastian’s antithesis.



The character of Michael Bastian is incarcerated in a psychiatric ward of a mental institution due to his recent acts of ‘insanity.’ Prior to being locked up, he was a considerably normal person. He was close to completing his masters degree, had a girlfriend and a very conventional social life. Until his inner self (his soul) began to speak to him at nights.
As the nocturnal visits from his soul became more frequent, he sought help from a professional, hence his permanent residency at Beaufort Mental Institution.

Michael’s soul is his complete opposite; Confident, Intimidating, Demanding and very much insane. Michael doesn’t talk to anybody, even when doctors are examining him. As a result of this, Michael’s soul pushes him to speak at assessments and what not, so they can both be free from the institution. Much to his soul’s demise, Michael knows that if he does speak and act sane enough to be released, his soul will create havoc wherever he goes.
The institution only keeps Michael there because when Michael’s soul comes to fruition every night, everyone in the hospital assumes it is Michael who is talking and acting insane.

This short film depicts an ordinary visit from Michael’s soul one evening.





(Opening scene shows a small sized white room, a psychiatric ward. In the centre of the room is a simple spring loaded fold out bed with a mattress on it. White linen is strewn across the floor.)



Michael Bastian lies sleeping in his bed. He tosses and turns a couple of times, but never seems uncomfortable.
A light shines on his bed and he slowly but somewhat worryingly wakes up. Michael’s soul enters very confidently from the left of stage.


Michael’s soul:
Oh don’t mind me; I was just in the neighborhood.

Michael tries to rise out of his bed but fails. He submissively falls back to Sleep.

Michael’s soul:
You worthless piece of shit! You can’t even stay awake for the good bits… I envy you though, your docile nature and everything. Oh but I won’t be taking up your traits anytime soon, not until they LET US OUT OF HERE ANYWAY! Oh who am I kidding? I don’t envy you, I don’t envy anyone!

Michael’s soul walks around the room, making more of a mess of the strewn linen. Suddenly Michael’s eyes open. Something his soul has never seen happen before on a visit. Michael’s soul runs to Michael and slams his body back into unconsciousness.


Michael’s soul:
Hrmmm. Now, that wasn’t supposed to happen.

Michael’s soul turns and peers into mid air, somewhat crazily, but also randomly shifts in and out of his daze.


Michael’s soul:
It’s true though, I am insane. But I’m not crazy. I just…


Michael’s soul pauses and chuckles to himself.

Michael’s soul:
Lack a bit of sanity. That’s all. Being insane is so much more fun than being, well, sane I guess.

Michael’s soul walks towards the right of the room and looks somewhat vulnerable.

Michael’s soul:
Being insane is the way that I look happy when I’m actually not. It’s being worried about what everybody else is thinking… for fuck’s sake, it’s about how I’m existing!


Michael’s soul acts as though he has come to his senses and straightens up his stance.

Michael’s soul:
We’re all living a lie! Every   single one of us! Lies; left, right and centre! No aims, just targets; targets like… like me 

Michael’s soul clenches his fist and talks with angst.

Michael’s soul:
They’ve got me. They’ve targeted me and shut me off from the world. They’ve locked me up in a white washed room with nothing but my thoughts daggering the silhouette of my insanity!

Michael’s soul looks into mid air once again.

Michael’s soul:
Yeah, nice one guys. That’s the way you save an insane man! WELL DONE! BRAVO! You want to cure me? You want to make me “better”? Give me colours and freedom! Don’t give me a blank canvas! All that does is force me to create something to speak with when I’m…


Michael’s soul looks somewhat seductively.

Michael’s soul:
All alone at night. Think logically you sane fucks! I sit and I rock back and forth with nowhere to go for no reason! all I can do is laugh I guess. I laugh with pity, I laugh sarcastically, I even laugh seductively. I TRY EVERY KIND OF LAUGH UNDER THE FUCKING SUN!

Michael’s soul steps into the shadows of the room. He is about to exit but stops, walks back and speaks.

Michael’s soul:
Until morning breaks loose and I’m 
forced to reconcile with the drugs they’re feeding me.

Michael’s soul steps into the dark as Michael wakes up to the start of Comtine D'un Autre Eté by Yann Tiersen… Cut to black but music remains.


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