As the only female director nominated for a narrative film at the Oscars, “Mustang‘s” Deniz Gamze Erguven is keenly aware of the absence of women within the film industry. “Diversity, in terms of gender, it’s been an issue ever since the world exists,” she notes during our recent webcam chat (watch above). “In cinema history, we’re used to seeing the world through the eyes of men.”
Erguven adds, “Cinema has such an impact on the way we shape our societies and the way we think. So, the fact that we’re missing the point of view of half of humanity by not having films made by women just makes us more stupid. We would be so much more articulate and have broader perspectives and it would generate understanding, compassion, empathy and it would make our points of view much more complex.”
“In film school it was like that in every possible program. When I met Alice Winocour, my co-writer, we were the only two girls. So, it’s nothing new,” she tells us. “When I was the only girl at the Golden Globes, that’s like so familiar to me. But the fact that we’re talking about it so much, I think that it’s important.”
Erguven explains that she wrote the script in one summer, 20 hours per day. “I had written the treatment of ‘Mustang’ and I had told Alice about the scenes and story. And she put me in a situation where she was saying stuff like, ‘If you don’t have a script by the end of the summer, you are gonna die.’ And so I believed in her and started hitting my keyboard so madly. She was a bit like the boxing coach.”
Also in our chat, Erguven talks about “seeing thousands of girls” to play the parts of the main characters, the difficulties of filming inside the stadium, her favorite and most challenging scenes, and hints about her next project.
What do you think is going to win Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars? Make your Oscar predictions using the menu to the right or below.