Archive for the ‘Mustang (2015)’ Category

Mustang - Blu-ray Cover.jpg

Distributor: Cohen Media Group

Release Date: May 10, 2016

Region: Region A

Length: 97 min

Video: 1080P (MPEG-4, AVC)

Main Audio: 5.1 Turkish DTS-HD Master Audio

Subtitles: English

Ratio: 2.39:1

Notes: This release includes the film in both the Blu-ray and DVD formats. A DVD-only edition of this title is also available.

Still 3.jpg

“A mustang is a wild horse that perfectly symbolizes my five spirited and untamable heroines. Visually, even, their hair is like a mane and in the village, they’re like a herd of mustangs coming through. And the story moves fast, galloping forward, and that energy is at the heart of the picture, just like the mustang that gave it its name.” -Deniz Gamze Ergüven (Liner Notes)

It is early summer in a village in Northern Turkey and five free-spirited teenaged sisters splash about on the beach with their male classmates. Though their games are merely innocent fun, a neighbor passes by and reports what she considers to be illicit behavior to the girls’ family. The family overreacts, removing all “instruments of corruption,” like cell phones and computers, and essentially imprisoning the girls, subjecting them to endless lessons in house work in preparation for them to become brides. As the eldest sisters are married off, the younger ones bond together to avoid the same fate. The fierce love between them empowers them to rebel and chase a future where they can determine their own lives in Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s debut, a powerful portrait of female empowerment.

The film’s fairy tale quality has been discussed at length, and it seems that Ergüven was aware of the similarities while she was working on the script with Alice Winocour.

“The first treatment I ever wrote [for Mustang] was gloomy reality and it wasn’t necessarily gloomy all the time, but it told secrets which weren’t necessarily mine. It was very up-front. And I really needed to distantiate myself from that in all possible ways to re-appropriate this material. So I needed all the resources that cinema gives you. And it starts off with drama and having characters who are really bigger than life. And then you pull the strings and it becomes a story which is like a tale, literally. And the tropes of fairy tales… once we noticed it was there, it was there everywhere… So, again, because you [tell] yourself you’re in a fairy tale, then you allow yourself that type of writing. And it was already there with the girls on top of the tower of their house and their being orphans…” -Deniz Gamze Ergüven (

What is especially pleasing and rarely commented on is that these young women didn’t rely on any Prince Charming to save them from their castle tower. Yasin (Burak Yigit) helps towards the end, but it is up to young Lale (Güneş Şensoy) to save herself and her last remaining unmarried sister, Nur (Doğa Doğuşlu). It is also interesting that Ergüven subverts the usual “happily ever after,” which usually means that the young maiden marries a handsome Prince. In fact, marriage is one of the things that Lale is fighting against. It is these subversions of the fairy tale that make Mustang such a worthy film.

There are layers here, and one suspects that it could be studied endlessly.


The Presentation:

3.5 of 5 Stars

The Blu-ray and DVD discs are protected by the standard Blu-ray case with film related graphics framed by the Cohen Media Group’s “C” logo. Inside the case is a small booklet that features a synopsis of the film, an interview with Deniz Gamze Ergüven, and biographies. The back of this book features cast and crew credits. These pages are illustrated with photographs from the film.

The animated menus utilize footage from the film with music from Warren Ellis’ score.

Picture Quality:

4.5 of 5 Stars

Cohen’s high definition image transfer is as clear and pristine as one would expect from a Blu-ray release of a contemporary film. It accurately displays vibrant color with impressive detail and the appropriate amount of contrast. Blacks are rich without seeming to crush detail and there doesn’t seem to be any digital anomalies to distract the viewer.

Sound Quality:

4.5 of 5 Stars

Cohen’s 5.1 audio mix is impressive without ever showing off. It manages to pull the audience into the film’s universe while giving the right amount of priority to the dialogue, ambience, sound effects and score. It is difficult to find any real issue with the track, and I don’t think that most viewers will have any complaints.

Special Features:

4 of 5 Stars

Birdamla su (Une goutte d’eau): A Short Film by Deniz Gamze Ergüven – (18:48)

English speaking audiences will be more familiar with the title, A Drop of Water. The film was Ergüven’s graduation film, and it screened at the Cannes Festival Cinéfondation. It also won a Leopards of Tomorrow award at the Locarno Film Festival.

The 19-minute short opens with a shot of a veiled woman blowing a bubble with chewing gum, and tells the story of a young Turkish woman (played by Deniz herself) rebelling against the patriarchal attitudes and authoritarianism of the men in her community. It is an interesting addition to the disc, especially for those that appreciate short films.

[Note: The proper aspect ratio for this film is 1.85:1. Viewers might need to re-adjust their televisions so that there are black bars on all four sides of their screen. Otherwise, they will see the film stretched completely out of proportion.]

Interview with the Cast – (08:02)

The five principal actresses are discuss their respective characters, the themes of Mustang, their relationship with Deniz Gamze Ergüven, and the Oscars. It is an interesting little interview that has been padded slightly with footage from the film. Most viewers would agree that it is superior to most featurettes included as supplemental material (but just barely). It isn’t a comprehensive glimpse behind the scenes of the film, nor is it a comprehensive discussion about the issues surrounding the film’s story. It is simply nice promotional EPK material.

Theatrical Trailer – (02:01)

Mustang’s theatrical trailer is a convincing piece of publicity and a happy addition to the disc.

Soundtrack Download Card

Those with an affection for film scores will be happy to find an attractive card included inside their Blu-ray cast that will allow them to download Warren Ellis’ score for the film. It is an unexpected and interesting addition to this Blu-ray package that should please fans of the film.

Still 1

Final Words:

Son of Saul stole the Oscar™ statue, but Mustang stole my heart. This is a fabulous feature film debut for Deniz Gamze Ergüven and it arrives to home video with an affectionate recommendation from yours truly.