Screenplay: Deniz Gamze Erguven and Alice Winocour
Starring: Gunes Sensoy, Dogba Doguslu, Tugba Sunguroglu, Elit Iscan, Hayda Akdogan and Erol Afsin.
Originally screened in the Directors Fortnight section at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards.
Set in Inebolu, a Black Sea village 600 kilometres from Istanbul, Mustang is about the freedom of five young sisters with wild hair trailing down their backs, with a glance and an innocent smile that can lead to so much trouble.
Brought up by their grandmother after the death of their parents at an early age, the sisters are suddenly, overnight, declared whores who need to be married off before they lose their virginity.
The girls are banned from going to school and bars are installed in the windows of the house: a prison built with good intentions.
The girls remind one of these wild horses, the Mustang, so free and shameless; so comfortable in their own skin facing towards the sun, socks stuffed down bright pink lacy bras and imagined sea shells found under a sea of blankets.
I can relate, growing up as the youngest of three girls on a farm in the middle of no-where.
Running through paddocks, playing chasie on hay bales; skinny dipping in the pool. Idyllic days. But society catches up.
Mustang depicts the fight between the new world and the tradition of the old and how the expectations of society can do so much damage to the individual.
Trapped and forced into marriage – what a nightmare.
What l enjoyed most about the film was the lack of vanity in the characters or the style of film. It didn’t feel like I was watching a movie but was given a hidden window into the secret world of the young sisters.
Mustang doesn’t romanticize the characters, the behaviour felt authentic: these are wild young girls, not angels.
I loved how there was no pretention in showing how girls actually behave and the pressures that have to be tolerated to a point of change or destruction.
The beautiful sisters are so free and shameless because there’s nothing to be ashamed about being young and beautiful. And the film captured this beauty so well, the girls unaware of people seeing their wild spirit, deciding they need to be broken.
I was captivated by these young sisters, from start to finish.
As her first feature film, Deniz Gamze Erguven has given us a story that feels like it should already have been told, and I congratulate this fresh view of life that is usually hidden behind closed doors.
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