Friday, January 12, 2018

MUSTANG (2015)

Directed By: Deniz Gamze Erguven 
Written By: Deniz Gamze Erguyen & Alice Winocour 
Cinematography By: David Chizallet 
Editor: Ersin Gok 

Cast: Gunes Sensoy, Doga Zeynep Doguslu, Tugba Sunguroglu, Elit Iscan, Ilayda Akdogan 

Early summer. In a village in northern Turkey, Lale and her four sisters are walking home from school, playing innocently with some boys. The immorality of their play sets off a scandal that has unexpected consequences. The family home is progressively transformed into a prison; instruction in homemaking replaces school and marriages start being arranged. The five sisters who share a common passion for freedom, find ways of getting around the constraints imposed on them.

I will never be able to describe the beauty and quality of this film. As it is not a film so easily graded. It’s more an experience and a film You feel more then necessarily taking into account the filmmaking. Until you have way chef the film quite a few times. As it connects to you more emotionally especially watching the hardships the main characters go through. As you cringe with each new punishment and challenge they have to face.

You get swept up in not only the culture, community and characters, but also the sisterhood as it is a bond that truly never breaks apart.

The film draws you in and is multilayered as at times you even feel sympathetic with the characters who are helping the villains. As they are just trying to do what is best for the girls.

The film feels enriched with culture. The film is enriching itself though not strongly textured with no discernible style. The film wants you to feel more than anything. So that you don’t pay as much to the plot. Which actually works.

The film is a coming of age tale that shows the resourcefulness of youth. As the girls at the center of the tale rebel against repression though some unfortunately become ultimately victims of it.

The film is reminiscent of THE VIRGIN SUICIDES , but this film feels more nourishing and deeper to the soul. As we wonder about the girls at times but we are with them and not so much observing them like the characters in the virgin suicides. This film though with it’s more dangerous and dire consequences. Radiates a warm soulfulness in the face of strife.

It also shows the female characters as the main and shares their source of strength. As we are immersed in their culture and beliefs. Though the girls strive for freedom and everyday escapes like most teenager girls

We see the beauty and patriarchy of the town and life. As the film becomes episodic and slowly comes into focus as to where it is headed. As we also learn more and more about each girl as an individual and their way out of oppression.

When some of the character figure a way out or escape from their surrounding they are happy for one another. It also feels like a betrayal as they are forced to leave each other behind a kind of abandonment for the ones who are still there.

The film’s third act becomes more of a nail biting thriller. As in effect it becomes a grand escape movie all of a sudden but not in a jarring way. As it is weaves into the story believably.

The oppressive cruelty is hard to watch at times. Especially as we know this routinely exists in the real world. Though the film has kind of a happy ending. The characters future seem in doubt and after all they have just gone through. While worth it seems cruel for what it took.

Grade: A

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