Mustang (2015)

The first time i've heard of this movie they were linking it to 'The Virgin Suicides'. And of course it is, the comparisons are inevitable but don't get tricked, it's not a Turkish version of Sofia Coppola's debut film. Though it has a lot of similarities and just like with Coppola, this is the first feature of female director Deniz Gamze Ergüven.

'Mustang' follows the lives of five orphan sisters, Sonay, Selma, Ece, Nur and Lale, who live with their strict uncle and grandmother in a conservative society. After been seen playing in the beach with some classmates and sitting on the boys' shoulders while playing a game in the water, they're forced to stay at home and never leave the house because of their indecent behaviour according to their family and neighbours, and that's the start of the film. Evidently, this is really similar to the plot of Jeffrey Eugenides' famous book about the Lisbon sisters that Sofia Coppola delightfully adapted for the cinema, but the movie explores much more than that. In fact, it reminds me more to Lorca's drama 'La casa de Bernarda Alba' (The House of Bernarda Alba) than to the famous virgins' story.

After the confinement we see how the sisters are trained to become suitable wives and we witness how a traditional culture takes any type of freedom away from these young girls. And in a way, the grandmother sees this as a way to get them out of the house, at least it was for her when she was young. But the subplot of what really happens in the house and how the marriages are arranged, is something we could imagine that happened years ago and it's hard to think that this is still happening nowadays. The frustration of the girls, the privation of their freedom and their wish to fully live as normal girls while some of them try to look for a way out and others take their arranged future as it comes and especially, what happens when the lights go out in that house is what makes the film so powerful. It is because it's stuck on your head for days and makes you think about everything that we don't see and it's implicit in the movie and that would explain the rush of the grandmother wanting them to get married in order to get them out of the house.

Officially selected for Best Foreign Film in this year's Academy Awards and winner at the Cannes Film Festival as well that at the Toronto Film Fest., it's a film worth watching. Not only the story captures you from the very first moment but also the five young actresses are a pleasure to watch, from the youngest and the protagonist to the rest of the sisters. You can watch the trailer below and tons of beautiful shots after the cut, it might contain spoilers so you've been warned.


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