(director/writer: Deniz Gamze Ergüven; screenwriter: Alice Winocour; cinematographers: David Chizallet, Ersin Gok; editor: Mathilde Van de Moortel; music: Warren Ellis; cast: Ilayda Akdogan (Sonay), Gunes Nezihe Sensoy (Lale), Doga Zeynep Doguslu (Nur), Serife Kara (The Great-Aunt), Elit Iscan (Ece), Nihal Koldas (The Grandmother), Ayberk Pekcan (Erol), Tugba Sunguroglu (Selma), Suzanne Marrot (Aunt Hanife), Aynur Komecoglu (Aunt Emine), Sevval Aydin (Erin), Enes Surum (Ekin), Burak Yigit (Yasin), Erol Afsin (Osman),Aziz Komecoglu (Osman’s Father), Kadir Celebi (Ekin’s Father), Muzeyyen Celebi (Ekin’s Mother), Aykut Karatay (Boy in the Car), Ercan Koksal (Uncle Seref), Serpil Ucar (Petek Hanim), Huseyin Baysal (Riffle Man), Bahar Karimoglu (Dilek), Seril Reis (Osman’s Father / Petek’s Neighbour ); Runtime: 97; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: Charles Gilliber; CG Cinema; 2015France/Germany/Turkey/Qatar-in Turkish with English subtitles)

A great debut coming-of-age film by the woman French-born writer-director Deniz Gamze Ergüven.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A great debut coming-of-age film by the woman French-born writer-director Deniz Gamze Ergüven, that tells of the hardships women go through in the backwards regions of rural Turkey. The film focuses on the travails of five sisters, and is told from the POV of the youngest and most rebellious adolescent sister, Lale (Günes Sensoy). The other sisters include the feisty oldest, Sonay (Ilayda Akdogan), the shy Selma (Tugba Sunguroglu), the inner seething buth ouwardly calm middle sister Ece (Elit Iscan), and the more removed second youngest sister Nur (Doga Zeynep Doguslu).

The five young orphaned sisters, on the last day of school, go to the beach to have some fun with a few of the boys from school. Their horseplay, riding piggyback on the boys, is seen by a neighbor and reported to their narrow-minded guardian grandmother (Nihal Koldas). Granny relates piggybacks to “pleasuring themselves against boys’ necks.” Their ridiculous uncle (Ercan Koksal) is called in and the girls are brought to their small town hospital for virginity tests. The girls are removed from school, bars are placed around their family home and they are given obedience training. to prepare them for marriage.

The girls try to make the best of their imprisonment by pretending the mattresses are swimming pools when they play. At one point the youngest sister leads an escape to a football match, where the crowd is all female. The girls next plan to flee to Istanbul, which elevates the film into a tense thriller. The drama is loosely based on the life of the director, where women are condemned for the thoughts others have of her.