Director: Deniz Gamze Ergüven (Turkish, subtitled)
The extraordinary MUSTANG is set in rural Turkey. It tells the story of five orphaned sisters, who live with their grandmother in a large and remote house. The family is not poor, but it is conservative, and when the girls are seen by neighbours splashing around in the sea on the shoulders of a group of local boys an uncle steps in, telling the girls’ grandmother that things must change. The family’s respectability is at stake.
“A superbly acted study of suppression that’s more intent on provocation than plausibility”
“Some have likened the film to The Virgin Suicides. Ergüven thinks it’s more like Escape from Alcatraz – with frocks”
Whilst nominated for best foreign language film at the 2015 Oscars, the winner of four César awards in France, and multiple “Best Films” at Cannes and around the world, Ergüven has experienced severe criticism in her native Turkey, where the situation for women is, she believes, now very grave. She is happy for her film to be regarded as a contribution to the increasingly muscular and conflicted debate surrounding women’s rights. “The way he [President Erdoğan] speaks: he makes women fragile with his messages. There is a certain way, he says, of being a woman: you have to be a mother and at home, and that’s all. When you see a man, you should blush and look down. It’s like something from the middle ages.”