Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s Mustang, one of the year’s film sensations, now has another statuette to add to its trophy case. The French-Turkish-German co-production has been awarded the European Parliament’s LUX Prize 2015, thus beating the other two finalists, Jonas Carpignano’s Mediterranea and Kristina Grozeva & Petar Valchanov’s Urok (The Lesson).
“The echo you give me through this prize brings further questioning to the topic of this film, so thank you very much,” explained Ergüven when picking up the award. “Mustang shows five strong women who want to get away from a sometimes patriarchal and hypocritical society,” stated European Parliament President Martin Schulz, who presented the film. “Sensitivity for the diversity that the prize aims to emphasise is of the greatest importance; we have to be ready to defend what makes us who we are, something we have to defend against destruction by young people who were prepared to destroy behind their stupid ideology,” he added in reference to the current terrorist crisis Europe is enduring at the moment.
The true revelation of Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight (with the Europa Cinemas Label into the bargain and sales all around the world), one of the nominees for the upcoming European Film Awards and the French submission in the Oscars race, Mustang follows five sisters in northern Turkey, as their family home is progressively transformed into a prison for them due to religious intransigence towards women.
The prize, decided on the basis of a vote by the Members of the European Parliament, is intended to celebrate the diversity and the social relevance of cinema in Europe. After the selection of the three finalists, Mustang has finally been picked out as the best example of this. The LUX Film Days, part of the LUX Prize, have assured the screenings of the three finalist films all around the continent, and later on, the LUX Prize Public Mention will be awarded, following the audience’s vote.
The LUX Prize ceremony, which took place today at noon in Strasbourg’s plenary session, is followed by a press seminar, moderated by MEP and LUX Prize coordinator Doris Pack. The European Parliament will host a series of conferences and panels. “Cinema Education, or the need to lay the foundations of a common language via European cinema” will feature the presence of acclaimed filmmaker, and Cinémathèque Française president Costa Gavras, MEP Bogdan Wenta and director Petar Valchanov. The panel “LUX Prize: topical films as a tool for cultural diplomacy” will welcome MEPs Elmar Brok and Silvia Costa and the three directors of the nominated films. Lastly, a panel on gender equality in the audiovisual industry, “A not very (gender) balanced endeavour”, will see Vice-President of the European Parliament Ulrike Lunacek, MEP Julie Ward, EWA Network director Francine Ravenay, The Lesson’s lead actress Margita Gosheva and the LUX Prize winner, Deniz Gamze Ergüven, giving their insights on the topic.
Early summer. In a village in northern Turkey, Lale and her four sisters are walking home from school, playing innocently with some boys. The immorality of their play sets off a scandal that has unexpected consequences. The family home is progressively transformed into a prison ; instruction in homemaking replaces school and marriages start being arranged. The five sisters who share a common passion for freedom, find ways of getting around the constraints imposed on them.
Screenplay: Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Alice Winocour
Cast: Güneş Nezihe Şensoy, Doğa Zeynep Doğuşlu, Elit İşcan
Cinematography by: David Chizallet, Ersin Gok
Film editing: Mathilde Van de Moortel
Art director: Serdar Yemisci
Producer: Charles Gillibert
Production: CG Cinéma
Distribution: Ad Vitam, Cinéart
Sales agent: Kinology