Film Review – MustangTitle: Mustang
Reviewer: Linda Heller-Salvador
Children just want to run free, have fun and be allowed to develop their own identities no matter what gender or country they are from. Co-written with Alice Winocour (Augustine), director Deniz Gamze Ergüven‘s first feature film depicts this innocence in a visually rich and breezy manner.
Set on the north coast of Turkey, we are introduced to five beguiling and spirited sisters – Sonay, Selma, Ece, Nur, and Lale – who are being raised by their oppressive Uncle Erol and strict grandmother. While celebrating the start of their summer holidays, an innocent moment of youthful seaside frolicking has consequences that change their lives in the blink of an eye and puts an end to their adolescent freedom.
The family home is turned into a virtual prison with windows barred, and phones, computers, and make-up confiscated. Access to the outside world is limited to involuntary outings to meet potential husbands. With each of the girls finding their own way to cope, they begin to assert themselves and attempt to escape the repressive society that surrounds them.
Mustang is a beautifully scripted drama that is driven by an exceptional cast of newcomers. With a haunting score by Warren Ellis it makes for a stunningly atmospheric coming-of-age-film that deals with blossoming womanhood, female empowerment, traditions and family honour.