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‘Mustang’ film screening

Hoylake Community Cinema, The Parade, Hoyle Road, Hoylake CH47 3AG, 28 April. Doors 6.30pm

A bittersweet Turkish delight

Hoylake Community Cinema hit the nail on the head yet again this month with a timely screening of award winning modern classic Mustang; a fascinating insight into some of the pressing cultural and gender issues facing young Turkish women.

Made in 2015, Mustang is Turkish-French director Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s debut feaure film. It follows the lives of five orphaned sisters who are sent to live with their traditionally conservative uncle and grandmother in a remote Turkish village.

Ergüven has spoken openly about her fears for the future of Turkey under the fiercely conservative President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who earlier this month won sweeping new powers following a recent referendum that she fears will further polarize Turkish society and undermine women’s rights there.

“There is a certain way, he [Erdoğan] says, of being a woman: you have to be a mother and at home, and that’s all. When you see a man, you should blush and look down. It’s like something from the middle ages. The subtext is that women are only seen as sexual. That’s why they must cover every inch of their skin. This is dangerous because it generates more violence against them, it makes it OK for men to act like assailants. Rapes happen everywhere, but in Turkey women come out on to the streets to protest because such attacks only seem to echo what the government is saying.”[1]

The film clearly reflects these concerns: a single event at the beginning of the film, based on a personal experience of Ergüven’s, leads to an indefinite and absolute curfew being imposed on the sisters, which even includes a ban on attending school.

Forced to dress in drab, conservative clothing and imprisoned in the home, the girls are taught how to cook, clean and sew by visiting female relatives. Meanwhile their grandmother takes the girls one-by-one into town “to get lemonade”, which is quickly revealed as an opportunity to show them off to potential suitors for marriage.

The oldest sister, Sonay, begins to rebel, sneaking out occasionally to meet a lover, while Lale, the youngest girl who is also a football fan, looks for various ways to escape. As secrets and inevitable tragedies unfold, a much darker story is revealed, with the intense and growing bond between the sisters emerging as their best hope for survival and eventual freedom.

The film received widespread critical praise including nominations for Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards and a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film as well as winning Best First Feature Film, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing and Best Original Music at the 41st César Awards, the 2015 Europa Cinemas Label Award; the 2015 Lux Prize, and the Polish Filmmakers’ Association Award for Best Feature.

Tickets are £5, available from Jill’s Cookshop, Market Street, Hoylake; Staacks, Banks Road, West Kirby; The Parade, Hoylake Community Centre; and online at www.hoylakecommunitycinema.co.uk

Doors open 6.30, film starts 7.30. Licensed bar open till 11pm.

There is a licensed bar selling homemade snacks and there will be. The Parade Community Centre has full disabled access and is induction loop enabled for the hard of hearing. This event will be extremely popular, so early booking is strongly advised. It is very unlikely that tickets will be available on the door.