Mustang : Translating Willful Youth book cover
1st Edition

Translating Willful Youth

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after December 5, 2022
ISBN 9780367543136
December 5, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
136 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book provides a critically informed account of the Turkey-born France-based director Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s debut film Mustang (2015), which tells the story of five orphaned sisters living with their grandmother and uncle in a remote Turkish village.


The film’s familiar art-house style, and its universalising focus on female coming-of-age and feminist dissent, resulted in celebratory reviews from journalists and scholars of world cinema. Meanwhile, Mustang’s framing of youth in the Turkish national context and its representation of gender divided Turkey-based film critics and cultural theorists. These divisions led to a debate that questions the politics of transnational feminism by criticising the film’s failure in capturing the local intricacies of the politics of gender and youth. While this book aims to locate Mustang within the intersection of emerging female and youth narratives in the cinema of Turkey, it also provides a critical understanding of the differences in Mustang’s local and global reception. This focus on the geopolitics of representation informs the diverse criteria this study uses to evaluate Ergüven’s stylistic choices.


Engaging with both Anglophone and Turkish literature in youth cinema and gender studies, this book makes an original contribution to current debates on national/transnational cinemas and gender/youth studies and is an accessible reference for graduate and undergraduate study of contemporary film.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Locating Mustang’s Willful Youth  1. Escaping ‘New Turkey’s ‘Wife Factory’: Towards a Contextualisation of the Claim for Female Voice and Subjectivity  2. Framing the Willful Subject of Coming-of-Age: Cinematography and Stylistic Excess  3. Critical Reception: Paradoxes of National Belonging and Geopolitics of Film Criticisms  Conclusions

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Elif Akçalı is an Associate Professor in Film and TV Studies at Kadir Has University, Turkey. Her research focuses on film aesthetics, videographic criticism, non-fiction film, and gender/sexuality studies.


Cüneyt Çakırlar is Associate Professor in Film and Visual Culture at Nottingham Trent University, UK. His research focuses on issues of gender and sexuality in film and contemporary arts.


Özlem Güçlü is an Assistant Professor in Sociology at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Turkey. Her research focuses on gender and sexuality in cinema, cinema in Turkey, and cinematic animals.