In what was undoubtedly a tough call for France’s selection committee — including Cannes artistic director Thierry Fremaux, filmmakers Michel Hazanavicius and Melanie Laurent, actress Nathalie Baye, French Cinematheque director Serge Toubiana and more — “Mustang” is France’s pick this year.
The debut feature from Turkish actress-turned-writer-director Deniz Gamze Erguven, which won a Directors’ Fortnight Europa Cinemas prize as well as dual prizes in Sarajevo, tells the story of a family of five school girls who are caught frolicking innocently with boys in the surf one day and are subsequently clapped in prison inside their home, subjected to virginity tests, until they can be married off. Each time one manages to escape, the family adds higher barriers and window bars to keep them enclosed. Cohen Media Group bought North American rights at Cannes, and has shown the film at fall fests including Toronto.
An awards release date is set for this Turkish-language French co-production on November 20. (Read David Ansen’s take on the film here.)