Besides the brand of automobile sports cars that the name “Mustang” is associated with, “Mustang” is now also a film by Turkish-French filmmaker Deniz Gamze Ergüven in her debut feature. The drama, set in a remote village in Turkey, depicts the life of five young orphaned girls as they grow up in a conservative society.

Güneş Şensoy plays Lale, the protagonist and the youngest of the five sisters. At the end of a typical school day, the girls decide to walk home instead of using public transport, and end up playing around with their male classmates at the beach along the way. At home, they are berated by their grandmother and uncle for their actions and subsequently secluded from the public.

From the very onset, the setting of a conservative society is made clear. Ergüven then wastes no time in showing some of the traditions and cultures that the town people still uphold, practices that the girls find little or no value in. Things such as arranged marriage and the sanctity of one’s virginity evokes nothing but nonchalance from the teenagers.

All these events take place in the perspective of Lale. Being the youngest of her friends, her interest is constantly piqued whenever the older ones do “mature” activities in front of her. Young actress Şensoy plays her character naturally, with gentle nuances and expressions to show whenever she understands or is confused by anything.

In general, Mustang delves into a society in Turkey that most of us would never get to see, and allows us to experience a glimpse of Turkish culture that is unlike that of most other cultures in today’s world. Written by Deniz and fellow filmmaker Alice Winocour, Mustang was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards, on top of a Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Language Film and being screened at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.

Directed by: Deniz Gamze Ergüven
Genre: Drama
Running time: 97 minutes
Rating: 3.5/5

In Turkish with English subtitles

Mustang is screened here as part of the Francophone Festival 2016 at the Alliance Francaise that runs from 10 – 22 March 2016.

Date: Saturday, 12 March 2016
Time: 8pm
Venue: Alliance Francaise

Date: Monday, 21 March 2016
Time: 8pm
Venue: Alliance Francaise

Tickets are priced at $13 for the public.