AHFW’S Movie of the Week takes a trip halfway around the world. Turkey is the setting for director/co-writer Denize Gamze Erguven’s heartbreaking, Oscar-nominated drama about the perilous fate of five sisters in “Mustang”.
“Mustang” (2015) – “Time misspent in youth is sometimes all the freedom one ever has” – Anita Brookner.
For five, giggling, likable sisters – raised by their grandmother and ranging in ages between (about) 9 and 16 – they misspend their time like any group of schoolgirls. On one fateful day, Selma (Tugba Sungur), Sonay (Ilayda Akdagun), Ece (Elit Iscan), Nur (Doga Zeynep Doguslu), and Lale (Gunes Sensoy) harmlessly play in the Black Sea with some boys, but their uncle responds with massively excessive repercussions.
Their aunts and grandmother immediately begin an enclosed, authoritarian mission by attempting to tame the girls into domesticated traditions, and their home suddenly becomes a “wife factory”, as noted by the youngest, Lale. While drastic lifestyle-shifts encircle them, director/co-writer Deniz Gamze Erguven organically communicates the involved bonds of sisterhood through warm and agonizing moments within emotionally and physically-enclosed spaces. Her heartbreaking film might capture two specific struggles – children vs. adults and freedom of expression vs. hardline oppression – better than any film in recent memory.
(“Mustang” is available to stream on Amazon Prime.)
⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Image credits: Ad Vitam; Trailer credits: Movieclips Indie