France, Germany, Turkey, Qatar, 2015, 94’

directed by: Deniz Gamze Ergüven

written by: Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Alice Winocour

cast: Güneş Nezihe Şensoy, Doğa Zeynep Doğuşlu, Elit İşcan, Tuğba Sunguroğlu, İlayda Akdoğan

cinematography: David Chizallet, Ersin Gok

edited by: Mathilde Van de Moortel

producers: Charles Gillibert

production: CG Cinéma, Bam film

festivals and awards: 

Cannes FF 2015 – Directors' Fortnight – Europa Cinemas Label Award; Heart of Sarajevo for Best Film, Best Actress; Odessa IFF 2015 – Grand Prix for Best Film and Best Director; Toronto IFF 2015


It is early summer. In a Turkish village on the Black Sea coast, far from Istanbul, Lale and her four sisters are coming back from school. Along the way they stop to play with some boys. The boys carry them around on their shoulders for a while. However, the innocent children's game turns into a scandal when a conservative neighbor sees them from her window. Shocked, she tells it to their grandmother. Accused for "sexual behavior", the girls are beaten up by their uncle and must undergo the test of virginity. They get grounded. Their family home turns into a prison. The sisters are forced to learn all household chores and prepare for marriage. Lale, the youngest one, refuses everything that threatens her freedom. Her urge for independence culminates with a fiery showdown between Lale and her increasingly conservative family. This encourages the other girls to try to escape. Mustang is this year's French entry for the Academy Award.

Deniz Gamze Ergüven was born in Ankara and lives in Istanbul. She studied Filmmaking at La Fémis in Paris, and Literature and African History in Johannesburg. Her graduation film, Bir Damla Su won an award at Locarno. Her debut feature Mustang was co-written with Alice Winocour, and won awards at Cannes, Sarajevo and Odessa Film Festival.