Tuesday, 24 October 2017

This is a Man's Man's Man's World

 Ilayda Akdogan, Ayberk Pekcan and Gunes Sensoy in 'Mustang'.

One of the most significant debuts of the decade! An emotional drama that stole the hearts of critics and audience. Why is 'Mustang' my favourite film of all times? 

Set in a dreamy Turkish village, where at first glance life seems to be idyllic. But there is more hell in this paradise, that you have thought.


The story begins with a terrible misunderstanding. An elderly, pious neighbour sees five young sisters having fun with boys in the sea. She not only questions their innocence but also puts them in the cage, where their old-fashioned grandma and a fickle uncle clip their wings progressively,  changing their house into a 'wife factory'.

We see bad things happen. We see emotional and physical abuse, molesting. And, finally, arranged marriages. Those girls are paying a high price not only for being beautiful but mainly for being women. 'Mustang' doesn't solely focus on a suffering and girls' response to that but also on a beauty of sisterhood and their unity. Unity of young women facing the outdated tradition and abuse, and fighting for their freedom.



Gunes Sensoy as Lale in 'Mustang'

Paraphrasing the James Brown song -this is a man's world, but it would be nothing without a woman or a girl... like Lale! The narrator of the movie and the youngest of five orphaned sisters. Brave, rebellious girl who is not afraid to speak her mind. She does not agree with the detrimental tradition and unfair treatment. She leads her sisters as she can't stand injustice. We get to see how a young feminist was  born. It is her attitude that adds an uplifting spirit to the film. Güneş Şensoy is absolutly remarkable as Lale. 

The performances in 'Mustang' are excellent. Ayberk Pekcan is great as cruel and merciless Erol. But it is the amateur actors that made this movie exceptional. Their acting is very natural, which makes the story totally believable.


Gunes Sensoy, Ilayda Akdogan, Elit Iscan, Tugba Sunguroglu and Doga Doguslu in 'Mustang'


Deniz Gamze Ergüven debuted in a style! Her first film won many awards on the most prestigious film festivals in the world, including four César awards, and the Europa Cinemas Label Award at Cannes.

Expertly directed, 'Mustang'  has a perfect pace and balance between the tragic and the happy scenes. 
Even though this film is full of contrasts and twists,  it flows beautifully. On the one hand, there is a family that cares more about the tradition and opinion of society than about happiness of young girls. On the other hand, we see a strong, unbreakable bond between the sisters, and we know that they'll do everything for each other. We see that coming of age can be both beautiful, and difficult. Especially if freedom-wanting, independent young girls live in a cage with a monster.
Erguven showed us the darkest shades of Turkish tradition, as well as the beauty of it- music, dance, and food. 

'Mustang'  is full of powerful scenes, but the cruelest of them always take place off camera. The director invited us not only to girls' house but also to their hearts, showing their intimacy in the most delicate way.
Hats off to the cinematographers David Chizallet and Ersin Gok! 'Mustang' is visually breathtaking!

This is the best film I have seen in my life. I watched it seven (!) times in the past two years.
When I first watched it, I cried and I laughed. I couldn't stop thinking about it for a long time. Gemze touched my soul. I give it 11 out of 10. A truly great piece of filmmaking!





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