Girls Corralled in “Mustang”
By Skip Sheffield
“Mustang” is a curious name for a movie that is not about a horse or a car, but five young sisters living in the repressive Islamic culture of Turkey.
The story, written by director Deniz Gamze Erugven with Alice Winocour, begins on a summer afternoon when the five sisters are let out of school with a group of friends. They go to the beach and begin to frolic in the water, fully clothed.
Some local busybody witnesses the girls and boys playing together, and concludes they were up to no good. The girls have no mother, but they live with their grandmother (Nihal G. Koldas), who is very strict. When Grandma receives word the girls may have been misbehaving with boys, she is furious. Even more furious is the girls’ father (Ayberk Pekcan), who decides the girls should be prisoners in their own house until they can be married off. The dad goes to the extent of welding bars on the windows.
Is it any wonder the girls rebel against such oppression? For those of us who are not familiar with strict Islamic living, its systematic abuse and neglect of women and girls is hard to understand. I will be the first to admit I do not understand. But since it is a religion, I really have no right to criticize. But the point of this story is that these girls did not choose to live this way. It was forced upon them, and that is just not right.