Sunday, March 6, 2016

Mustang (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway


The Oscar nominated foreign film "Mustang" by Deniz Gamse Ergüven is a haunting spellbinder with push and pull. The story begins softly with all the warmth of a family tale but gradually shifts into a story of apprehension and mania, worthy of any crime thriller.

Five Turkish orphan girls are living with a family. It is the end of school. On a whim they decide to enjoy the afternoon by taking a respite on the beach and the five meet a group of boys. On hearsay from an old lady, the girls are beaten, one by one, by their grandmother for innapropriate conduct.  Bars are installed.  Our sense of shock increases as we realize that these young people are essentially in a prison, kept from social events and school.

Lale (Gunes Sensoy) is the most adventurous of the youngsters and yearns to escape to attend a soccer match. The girls flag a ride from a passing stranger Osman (Erol Afsin) . They manage for a brief idyll but the eyes of their uncle are always above them.

The tension of this film is first rate as is the cinematography by David Chizallat and Ersin Gok, portraying each of the girls either popping to and fro like balls in a roiling pinball machine, devoted to soccer's  bacchanalia, or marooned on a cement island right out of "Papillion."

In watching "Mustang" your senses will be tricked. The close family appearances subtly give way to the realization of servitude and forced marriages. Not since "Phoenix" has a film so gradually ensnared  us with humanity, a bit of black humor and absolute horror.

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