Mustang: A Must-See That Will Touch Your Soul

To all my faithful readers, I apologize for the writing hiatus. I blame it on a new job that I have only just gotten around to balancing with blogging. All the same, I am excited to drop my two cents on a film I recently watched! =)

This was another suggestion from my close friend and up-and-coming filmmaker, and what a beauty indeed! Mustang is a Turkish film that opens in a remote village in Turkey. It focuses its lens on the youngest of 5 sisters as the opening credits come to a halt. Young Lale is saddened by the departure of her favourite teacher. Her sisters try to comfort her and together, the five of them embark on an innocent and free-spirited romp on the beach. When they return home later that day, their grandmother is furious and begins hitting them one by one. Their crime? Hanging out with boys “indecently”, credit of a no-good and snitch-of-a-neighbour. The five girls are then cloistered like nuns and in Lale’s words, put through a “wife factory”. So begins this story that will both make your heart soar and devastate you all in the same breath.

Spanning themes of family, loyalty, sisterhood, bravery, abuse, love, freedom and captivity among several others, this film is a piece of artwork on its own. A layperson on film-making, I was still able to appreciate the beautiful angles that were shot, the exquisite song choices and the phenomenal acting by each of the 5 sisters: Sonay, Selma, Ece, Nur and Lale.

Director, Denis Gamze Erguven takes the viewer on a journey that is haunting in its likeness to our lives. As a woman, but also a free spirit, several aspects of this movie resonated with me on so many levels. These sisters are brave and unapologetic of who they are as people. They walk out into the world fiercely and love tenderly and openly. They trust but trust too with reason. They are clever in their attempts to attain their freedom and unwavering in their loyalty towards one another. As someone who shares a close bond with her siblings, this movie brought me to tears and is easily a fantastic movie for sisters who might be looking for a movie to bond over.

I can’t help but think of the applications this film can have to a classroom setting as well. With its strong focus on womanhood and the fight to be oneself in a world that stifles our spirits because of doctrines that are outdated and ignorant, this film poses big real-world discussion questions for courses at the high school level such as English, Family Studies, Social Sciences (particularly Psychology and Sociology), Women’s Studies, Cultural Studies and so on. It is also a fantastic eye-opener into the lives of women in remote places all across the world. An opportunity to see them as one with us, women of the West, an opportunity to feel the thirst of their spirits and the hunger in their bravery for a better life that they alone control.

I will not say more about this film (trust me I could!), mostly because I view this to be that piece of artwork in a gallery that is best viewed and not described. Therefore, whoever you are, wherever you are, this film will change you. Watch it.

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