Franco-Turkish director Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s feature film debut – nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award – paints a deeply affecting portrait of sisterhood and solidarity.
In a village in northern Turkey, Lale (Günes Sensoy) and her four older sisters celebrate the end of the school year at the beach with some teenaged boys. The perceived immodesty of their actions causes repercussions at home.
The orphaned girls’ domineering uncle over-reacts, confiscating all “instruments of corruption” including the girls’ mobile phones and computers. Classes on housework and cooking replace formal studies and marriages are arranged for the older girls. As their innocence is traded for assumed guilt and shame and their home becomes a fortress, the fierce bond between the girls emboldens the younger ones to rebel. Driven by an innate desire for autonomy, the sisters conspire to resist the limits imposed upon them and strive for a degree of self-determination.
Winner of the European Discovery of the Year Award at the European Film Awards, five French Césars (including the Best Original Music César for Warren Ellis) and the Europa Cinemas prize at the Cannes Film Festival, Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s remarkably assured feature film debut is anchored by naturalistic performances from a largely unknown cast of talented newcomers.
Mustang is referenced in Women Make Film in chapters on Bodies and Love.
– Roberta Ciabarra - Curator, Film
France, Germany, Qatar, Turkey