Friday, February 19, 2016

MUSTANG (2015): The Eroticizing and Sexualization of Turkish Nymphets

Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Mustang's (2015) co-writer and director, stated in a Huffington Post interview: 
“For me, it’s very important to look at the world through the eyes of girls. In cinema history we have always been looking at the world through the eyes of men,” 

“For some men, if they don’t have sisters, they really can see women as objects.”
But that is exactly what Ergüven did in Mustang. She objectified the nymphets. 

Mustang reminded me of Sinclair's Hollywood Lolita and Kincaid's Erotic Innocence and Child Loving: The Erotic Child and Victorian Culture. Those books, like The Allure of Nymphets, analyze the eroticizing of nymphets in the arts and that is what, in part, Ergüven has clearly done.

For example, Lale, the youngest sister, who was played by thirteen-year-old Günes Sensoy, has her white cotton panties exposed while she frolics with her sisters. Later in the film Lale stuffs her satin and lace bra before she seductively parades her enhanced cleavage around the apartment. 

Just like the nymphet in La Niña Santa (2004), who had teen anal sex with her cousin to preserve her virginity, one of the girl's in Mustang informs her sister that she had anal sex with her boyfriend to preserve her virginity. 

In addition to the raunchy teen behavior, the film briefly explores the dark side of ephebophilia as the middle-aged uncle has sex with two of his young nieces late into the night. 

We weren't surprise to learn in the Huffington Post piece that Ergüven had the nymphets watch Lolita to prepare for their "sexually explorative" roles, that James Franco opined in his Indiewire review that the Turkish film was "the best film of the year", and that, due to the allure of nymphets, the film has won and has been nominated for a number of prestigious awards including an Academy Award nomination for the Best Foreign Language Film. (See Fig. 1.)

Mustang (2015) Cast

Lastly, the plot summary on IMDB states: 
"When five orphan girls are seen innocently playing with boys on a beach, their scandalized conservative guardians confine them while forced marriages are arranged." 
But the marriages weren't "forced", they were arraigned. Furthermore, the first orphan to be married was very happy to be marriage to the boy that she had been having anal sex with. It wasn't that the other sisters didn't want to get married, they just didn't like the men that were arraigned for them.
Award / Film FestivalCategoryRecipients and nomineesResult
Academy Awards[18]Best Foreign Language FilmPending
Austin Film Critics Association[19]Best Foreign-Language FilmNominated
Best First FilmNominated
Belgian Film Critics Association[20]Grand PrixNominated
Cannes Film Festival[8]Europa Cinemas LabelWon
Caméra d'OrDeniz Gamze ErgüvenNominated
Queer PalmNominated
César Awards[21]Best FilmPending
Best DirectorDeniz Gamze ErgüvenPending
Best Original ScreenplayDeniz Gamze Ergüven and Alice WinocourPending
Best First Feature FilmPending
Best CinematographyDavid Chizallet and Ersin GökPending
Best EditingMathilde Van de MoortelPending
Best SoundIbrahim Gök, Damien Guillaume and Olivier GoinardPending
Best Original MusicWarren EllisPending
Best Costume DesignSelin SözenPending
Critics' Choice Awards[22]Best Foreign Language FilmNominated
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association[23]Best Foreign Language Film4th place
European Film Awards[24]European FilmNominated
European Discovery of the YearWon
Florida Film Critics Circle[25]Best Foreign Language FilmNominated
Golden Globe Awards[26]Best Foreign Language FilmNominated
Goya Awards[27][28]Best European FilmWon
Independent Spirit Awards[29]Best International FilmPending
Louis Delluc Prize[30]Best First FilmNominated
Lumières Awards[31]Best FilmWon
Most Promising ActressGüneş Nezihe Şensoy, Doğa Zeynep Doğuşlu, Elit Işcan,
Tuğba Sunguroğlu and Ilayda Akdoğan
Best First FilmWon
Best ScreenplayDeniz Gamze Ergüven and Alice WinocourNominated
Best CinematographyDavid ChizalletWon
Best MusicWarren EllisNominated
LUX Prize[32]Won
Online Film Critics Society[33]Best Foreign Language FilmNominated
Satellite Awards[34]Best Foreign Language FilmPending
Stockholm International Film Festival[35]Best ScriptDeniz Gamze Ergüven and Alice WinocourWon
Trophées du Film français[36]Duo révélation cinémaDeniz Gamze Ergüven and Charles GillibertWon
Odessa International Film Festival[37]Grand Prix - Golden DukeWon
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association[38]Best Foreign Language FilmNominated
Fig 1. Mustang's Awards and Nominations (Source: Wikipedia)

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