The Wellington Film Society hits into October, meaning the end of the year is on its way…last week it was Lewat Djam Malam – shown internationally as “After The Curfew” – this week it’s Deniz Gamze Ergüven‘s Oscar-nominated first feature, Mustang.
“Its emotions are universally recognizable, as is the powerful yearning of its young, female characters to establish their own identities and assert their own desires.” — Christy Lemire, Daily Telegraph
It’s a startling film, shining a spotlight on what it is to be young and female in Turkey. The reception given the film in her native country was decidedly negative, but in spite of this, it screened at the Cannes Film Festival, was nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Academy Awards, and won four César Awards in France including Best Original Screenplay (for the director and her co-writer, Alice Winocour) and Best First Film.
With both the director and screenwriter giving a pointedly female perspective, it follows that the film is narrated by the youngest of the five teenage sisters in the film and the joyousness of their lives is soon obliterated by the small-minded and brutish actions of their uncle as he seeks to marry them off before, in his eyes, their purity can be stained. Bonded by a fierce love for each other, the tension in the film comes from whether they can escape what seems like an inevitable fate, imprisoned until they can be auctioned off to a suitable mate. This is a film not to be missed.