At first there is a tendency to see Mustang in a light tone, but our minds change as the film progresses. Mustang is dead serious. It concerns five teenage sisters living a simple life in a small coastal village near the Black sea. Coming back from school, they go to the beach and play in the water with boys from schools. This is completely innocent, the girls and boys are fully dressed in their school uniforms, the girls sit on boys’ shoulders and try to knock each other off. Later, they learn that someone saw them and have complained to their grandmother. This is when everything changed, says our narrator, Lale (Güneş Şensoy). The orphaned sisters are raised by their grandmother (Nihal Koldaş), and pretty soon they are prevented from going to school, locked inside the house. According to Deniz Gamze Ergüven, since the election of the Justice and development party in 2003, women’s right have gotten worse in Turkey. In 2014, the Prime Minister declared that women should not laugh loud in public. Things are better in bigger cities like Istanbul, but in smaller communities, it’s almost impossible for young girls to get out of the family’s control. The grandmother force them wear new dresses that will hide their bodies. Other women come in to teach the girls how to cook. This all done under the supervision of the stern uncle Erol (Ayberk Pekcan). The idea is to get the girl ready for marriage. The girls are increasingly locked in the house as a gate is put at the entrance. Later on, the windows are fitted with bars. The sisters are going to get married even if they don’t want to. But Lale is stubborn. She first escapes with her sisters to go to a football match. Later, Lale is worried because she knows that uncle Erol is sexually abusing her sisters, and that her grandmother is unwilling to stop him. She plans to escape to Istanbul. The reason why Mustang is so powerful, beside the gripping topic, is the appeal of the five young actresses. The realist acting makes it look like it was all improvised, and I think it may have been. First time director Deniz Gamze Ergüven keeps it all fresh and new, driven by the hopeful energy of those young ladies. To see.

And the Oscar went to… Son of Saul (Hungary) won the Oscar for Best foreign language film.

Rémi-Serge Gratton


Directed by:
Deniz Gamze Ergüven

Screenplay by:
Deniz Gamze Ergüven
Alice Winocour

Günes Sensoy
Doga Zeynep Doguslu
Elit Iscan
Tugba Sunguroglu
Ilayda Akdogan

97 min.
Rated Parental Guidance

In Turkish with English subtitles.


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