An innocent splash with male schoolmates capsizes the lives of five orphaned sisters. Accused of disgracing their family, the girls are in turn exposed to untold humiliation at the hands of an uncle determined to make them prisoners in a home with but two escape routes: marriage or death. Given the subject matter, for her first feature, Turkish director Deniz Gamze Ergüven remarkably never lets the messages drive the bus. Unfolding like the rippling pages of a giant — and at times surreal — Golden Book, Mustang gives us girls who are refreshingly aware and open about their sexuality, the word “feminist” heard but once (and then only in passing on the radio), and no overt references to religion. By turns heartbreakingly tragic and, for at least one expertly executed sight gag, side-splittingly hilarious, in the end, Mustang’s biggest takeaway may very well be the significant part teachers play in a young child’s upbringing. (2015) — Scott Marks
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