Thursday, January 28, 2016

Top 10 of 2015, Mustang, and Oscars controversy

               Top 10, Hard-Hit 5, Tarnished (?) 2015 Oscars

                               Comments and Review by Ken Burke
As far as I'm concerned, Joy can return to Mudville,
where  Casey still stands uselessly at the bat
 In that I’ve seen only 1 new-release-film to mull over with you this time I’ll also bite the cinema bullet and offer my choices for the best 10 films released during 2015 (with the ongoing caveat that there may well 
be other worthy possibilities among options that I haven’t seen yet—especially in the areas of Foreign Language and Feature Documentary but screening availability and cost-considerations will always be factors in my movie attendance, no matter what year it is).  The only potential-contender (coming to my San Francisco East Bay-area anytime soon, as I’ve already passed on the "joy" of seeing Joy [David O. Russell, 2015] despite Jennifer Lawrence’s nomination for a Best Actress Oscar) for further consideration that I haven’t gotten to yet (just opening here in a couple of days) is 45 Years (Andrew Haigh, 2015), for which Charlotte Rampling’s also been nominated for Oscar’s Best Actress so I’ll reserve the right to modify my list after seeing that one but otherwise it stands as presented, with #1 being my choice for best of the bunch, etc.
Take care, curious readers, for plot spoilers gallop rampantly throughout the Two Guys’ insightful reviews.  Therefore, be warned, beware, and read on when you’re ready to be transported to … wherever we end up.  Please protect your eyes from the dazzling brilliance.
Top 10 of 2015   (With the understanding, dear readers, that there were some films not on my list that other critics thought highly of but that I didn’t see, especially in the documentary area.)
1. Spotlight (Tom McCarthy; review in our November 19, 2015 posting)—This excellent film is a scathing but restrained factual account of Boston Globe reporters uncovering the scandal of child molestation by Catholic priests plus the church’s attempt to cover up those crimes. Other possible choices for my highest honor of 2015 (1 of the few to which I’ve ever given 4 ½ stars of my possible 5) are a lot more spectacular in film production areas but none felt as consistently-impactful in concept, script, and acting, as well as insightful relevance to our contemporary life.

2. Carol (Todd Haynes; review in our January 11, 2016 posting)—In the early 1950s a middle-aged-married-woman shows her attraction for a younger-shop-girl with the attention reciprocated despite objections from the husband and society at large.

3. Bridge of Spies (Steven Spielberg; review in our October 15, 2015 posting)—A late 1950s-early ‘60s political-thriller, based firmly in fact, where a NY lawyer not sure he's up to the task must oversee delicate negotiations between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. for an exchange of captured spies. 

4. Room (Lenny Abramson; review in our November 5, 2015 posting)—A perverted criminal keeps a young woman captive for years in a cramped backyard shed where she lives with her son as the result of being raped by this monster, with their escape and its difficult aftermath the tense focus.

5. Ex Machina (Alex Garland; review in our April 30, 2015 posting)—Cerebral sci-fi where a robotics genius invites a brilliant coder to his isolated home to help verify that his latest creation passes the test of sentience, which the “female” robot already knows but what else does she have in "mind"?.

6. The Danish Girl (Tom Hooper; review in our January 11, 2016 posting)—In 1920s Copenhagen (again, a narrative based in historical fact) a young male artist confounds himself and his likewise-artist-wife by realizing that his true-inner-identity is female so he goes about a drastic change.

7. Love and Mercy (Bill Pohlad; review in our June 10, 2015 posting)—A biography of Beach Boys’ creative genius Brian Wilson whose obsessions with pop perfection take their toll on his sanity even as the top hits keep coming; told in 2 phases of his life with 2 different actors portraying him.

8. Steve Jobs (Danny Boyle; review in our October 30, 2015 posting)—Yet another biographical film but this one's much more fictionalized than any of these other “true stories” on my list, exploring the famed Apple co-founder’s creative visions with the settings of 3 major product launches.

9. Pawn Sacrifice (Edward Zwick; review in our October 3, 2015 posting)—We're drawing from the history-well once more, back in 1972 where American chess-prodigy Bobby Fisher makes news defeating Russian world-champ Boris Spassky but with terrible mental strain in the process. 

11. Sicario (Denis Villeneuve; review in our October 15, 2015 posting)—Brutal exploration of the drug trade into the U.S. from Mexico and the determined (if not strictly—or even barelylegal) methods used by lawmen (and one woman) from each country to stem the lucrative flow.

March 3, 2016After having now seen Son of Saul (László Nemes)—winner of the current Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film—I have to amend my above list to put this story of an Auschwitz prisoner’s desperate attempt to get a proper Jewish burial for a dead boy in as #10 of my 2015 top choices (review in our March 3, 2016 posting).  I realize that my critical colleagues rarely make changes once something’s published but many of them have wider access than I do to the likely-contenders when they formulate such lists, plus I consistently take advantage of the Internet medium to correct mistakes or better express myself, which I’m doing here (just like the NBA officially changed Steven Curry’s monumental-3-point-basket-distance from 32 to 37 feet, the winning shot in overtime [with .6 seconds left] for my Golden State Warriors over the Oklahoma City Thunder on February 27, 2016; when the facts demand an update you just have to go with it).

 Yes, I realize there’s no mention here of Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015; review in our May 20, 2015 posting), The Martian (Ridley Scott, 2015; review in our October 8, 2015 posting), Brooklyn (John Crowley, 2015; review in our December 2, 2015 posting), The Big Short (Adam McKay, 2015; review in our January 7, 2016 posting), or The Revenant (Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2015; review in our January 14, 2016 posting)–all frequent mentions on other lists—but I’ll talk more about those omissions in about a month when I post my annual collection of Oscar nominees, predicted winners, and personal favorites (among the nominees and otherwise, which will get some mention of my-currently-neglected-films back in play later on).  But, now that these difficult-to-decide-rating-decisions are finally out of the way, let’s move on to our only review for this posting.
                  Mustang (Deniz Gamze Ergüven, 2015)
In contemporary Turkey 5 young orphaned sisters live with their traditionalist relatives with lifestyle conflicts leading Uncle Erol to essentially lock them into their countryside home until each girl can be married off to local young men; problems of various kinds arise as a result, with the youngest sibling determined to find an escape plan from this madness.
What Happens: In present-day-Turkey (although aspects of this story could just as easily be happening in the Middle Ages—or Dark Ages, as our protagonists might say) we’re quickly introduced to 5 very attractive sisters, with the youngest, Lale (Güneş Şensoy)—who at various times narrates the events of this film—maybe not quite teenage but her siblings are; they’re orphans (not much is said about their late parents who died—as best I caught it—in a car crash), now living with their grandmother (Nihal Koldaş) and stern Uncle Erol (Aybeck Pekcan) in a seaside village about 100 km from Istanbul, but as their lives change one summer they might as well be on the moon as far as contemporary civilization goes.  As the school year ends the 5 girls head to the nearby beach with about a dozen of their classmates to frolic innocently in the ocean (all still fully dressed in their school uniforms), but a neighbor sees them and reports their “indiscretions” of touching the boys to the relatives, leading to angry denials from the sisters that they’ve done anything wrong but an equally-angry-response from Erol who locks up their corrupting influences (telephones, computer, makeup, etc.) in an attempt to save them from temptation (as well as having them medically-checked for virginity, verifying that temptation hasn’t already entered their lives—or bodies).  Once “imprisoned,” they hang around together, laying all over each other like a litter of puppies, but eventually they start taking cooking lessons from the older women around them in preparation for their only-intended-fate as wives of the local young men. The eldest, Sonay (İlayda Akdoğan), remains the boldest of the group, slipping from her upper-story-window down a drain pipe to meet up with her boyfriend, whom she has anal sex with—calm down, not on camera—in order to preserve her virginity, a crucial requirement in the arranged marriages that go on among families of this region, where the about-to-be-married-women have little say in their futures except for rebellious Sonay who insists that her fiancée be her current lover or she’ll make big trouble.  

 Soon Sonay is married to her husband-of-choice so at least she’s happy with the new arrangement while next-oldest Selma (Tuğba Sunguroğlu) grudgingly consents to her betrothal to Osman (Erol Afşin) although she finds no joy in her union, following the lavish double-ceremony with her sister.  Selma even fails to provide the required bloody-bedsheet-evidence of virginity-lost on the morning after the wedding, but potential scandal is averted after her new in-laws race her off to a doctor who verifies that it’s just a freakish anatomical occurrence because even though she did have sex last night with her new mate her hymen’s still fully intact (he assures her it’ll pop at some point).

 Next up for these assembly-line-weddings is middle-sister-Ece (Elit İşcan), yet even though she’s promoted as “one of a kind”—just like all of her siblings were—she’s already “damaged goods’” (by the rigid expectations of her culture) through no fault of her own because she’s been a rape victim of her hypocrite uncle; how he was going to explain her actual lack of virginity wasn’t revealed—unless he’d claim that the other sisters were like Selma, although they wouldn’t have intact hymens for collaboration—but it didn’t matter anyway because one day at lunch, after generating laughter from her remaining sisters by making sly jokes about the quick casual sex she enjoyed with a local boy during a trip into town with her uncle and siblings, she’s sent off to her room where she suddenly kills herself (off-screen), using Erol’s pistol (which he shot some rounds from at the older girls’ weddings as a ghastly form of celebration, with all of the intended phallic overtones intended, especially as we watch his grim visage likely sour from jealousy that it’s the grooms who’ll be sexually-active that night instead of him—unless that’s one of the occasions when he took out his desires on Ece, as we never witness any of his criminal acts but just vaguely understand them through brief implications).  Even though the second-youngest, Nur (Doğa Doğuşlu), is awfully young to be on the marriage-block there’s already action to find her a husband too, the final straw for Lale who’s witnessed enough perversion (again, through quick inferences we understand that Erol’s been raping Nur, explaining why the grandmother’s anxious to get her away from him) and cruelty in this house so she plots an escape for herself and Nur.  In past scenes that I skipped over, all 5 girls managed to slip out when the fortifications weren’t so extreme so they could go to an important football (or, as we Yanks call it, soccer) match; they missed their bus but a helpful young truck driver, Yasin (Burak Yigit), got them to the next stop so they made it to the stadium where only women were allowed as spectators because of previous male hooliganism; they’re shown on the TV coverage which Aunt Emine (Aynur Komecoglu) noticed while the uncles were distracted, so she cut the power line that feeds electricity to the entire area in order to save the girls’ reputation.

 Later, Lale snuck out on her own, again encountered Yasin who taught her to drive.  This skill becomes her salvation on the night of Nur’s wedding as the girls lock their relatives out of the house as the rest of the wedding party arrives, slip out a back entrance, steal their uncle’s car which gets them to the nearby woods where Yasin rescues them as the result of Lale phoning him for help just before all hell really broke out at the family compound.  Lale and Nur board a bus for Istanbul where they’d have little chance of surviving on their own; however, Lale has the address of Ms. Dilek (Bahar Kerimoglu), a beloved young female teacher from their school who moved to the big city back at the start of this tale (although that was also the end of the girls' schooling by their uncle’s decree, along with them all having to wear long, formless dresses on the rare occasions when they were escorted into their local village), so Lale and Nur go to her home where they’re welcomed in.

So What? It’s clear that even though all of these sisters at least wanted to understand themselves as free, independent operators the one who remained most rebellious to the external pressures put upon them was Lale (you could argue that Ece took more drastic action but her choice removed her from the hell-hole she was being forced to endure; Lale, however, waited out her dilemma for a longer time—we get the sense that the plot evolves over a period of months from late spring into autumn, or, not being that familiar with Turkey’s climate, that’s how I interpreted it—which allowed her to not only find a means of her own escape but also to help Nur out as well, something that none of her older siblings had been able to accomplish), whom we should understand as the wild, titular “mustang,” bucking her uncle’s mandates rather than buckling under to his misogynistic worldview (I thank my fellow-screening-attendee, long-time-friend, and Mills College-colleague, Jim Graham, for this insight as he voiced it more quickly than I did).  Lale is determined to be ‘the master of her domain” (so to speak, in TV's Seinfeld-ian terms) in body, mind, and soul, taking a cue from her eldest sister on now to stand firm against the cruel dictates of her guardian relatives (even as you can see the frustration on the youngster’s face the 1st time Sonay slips down the drain pipe—in broad daylight no less—to dash off into the woods with her lover), further fueled by watching the unhappy/tragic results for her next-eldest-sisters, firmly determined that she’ll escape the traumas of 2 of her siblings but generous enough to plan an exit-strategy that will include soon-to-wed Nur also.  None of these girls want to bend to the will of relatives and traditions that dehumanize them but each makes choices that blend best with their own innate personalities, as Sonay’s already taken charge of her blossoming-adult-life, Ece’s faced the devil and determined there’s no point in continuing their staring contest, while Lale’s laser-focused on not letting the abuse of her immediate-family-members continue any longer than it takes her to find a solution.  It’s an inspiring film, despite the horrors that this traditionalist culture feels are necessary to maintain in order to preserve a sense of long-rooted-identity in this rapidly-changing-world.

Bottom Line Final Comments: Given the director’s French background and co-financing from France (along with many other sources), this film’s been accepted as the French entry—now finalist nominee—for Oscar’s Best Foreign Language Film (where it’s a worthy contender but likely not strong enough to take the prize, if the buzz [and Golden Globe win] for the Holocaust-themed-Son of Saul [László Nemes, 2015] is to be believed); no matter the Oscar race, though, Mustang's already been well-recognized, including with the Europa Cinemas Label Award at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and many others worldwide either won or pending.  I was certainly impressed by it as well, not only because of the challenges to the horrendous theme of women still being treated as property, whether by family or society, well into the 21st century (plus the eons of time prior to how our history’s measured [by most global societies] according to Christian tradition, itself often responsible for stultifying sexism) but also because all of the performers, from Şensoy as Lale on up to the elder women so concerned about how these girls will be perceived by their community (where Islam seems the given choice for religious practices but its theological precepts are not nearly as impactful on these girls’ situations as is the fundamental sense of young women as nothing more than lush, sensual temptations whose outward appearance is allowed to maintain some aura of attraction only as a bargaining chip for a potential-husband’s approval), are so honest, impactful, worthy of respect for sincere investment in their beliefs, even those I can't condone.  In many ways, this is a miserable story to watch, yet you can’t help but be impressed by the alluring personalities of the sisters (for their physical appearances, sure, but mostly for their lively spirits), all determined to be something more than pawns in their family’s age-old-game of social-maintenancefrom merely-annoying to totally-disgusting expectationswhich each one attempts to transcend in her own way, although Ece’s decision is the most tragic while Selma’s is the least effective for her personal needs.

 Given how difficult it is for foreign-language-films to get wide distribution in the U.S. (this one’s in Turkish but does provide English subtitles for the many monolinguists—me included—in our U.S. society), I can’t assume that you’ll have easy access to Mustang but if you can find it in a theater, or more likely in some mode of video, I highly recommend it for the sobering reflections it offers about the enforced-fates of so many women worldwide, even in our supposedly-enlightened-times, along with the growing resistance to these “hallowed”-restrictions, from genital-mutilation in African countries to prohibitions against political participation in Saudi Arabia to continued fierce opposition to abortion rights in the U.S. to these customs of female “house arrest” with release only through arranged marriage all over the world.  Change is coming, slowly (and violently at times, due to vicious male resistance to social evolution) but surely, encouraged by stories such as we see in Mustang.  As for a Musical Metaphor to reflect upon this film, I’ve decided to offer 2 in that I’m reviewing only 1 cinematic-sample this week so I wanted to enhance your musical considerations, especially because my first choice, Wilson Pickett’s “Mustang Sally” (written and 1st recorded by Mack Rice in 1965, made famous by Pickett in 1966 with his hit single and inclusion on his The Wicked Pickett album that year) at, a live performance in Spain (specific city and date unknown to me, chosen because it’s the longest version I could find of a song that deserves to be heard at length, plus it adds a little extra “scat” guitar riff at the end), doesn’t address the full context of Ergüven’s message to global societies

 While this “slow down” message is clearly in keeping with Uncle Erol’s confining attitude toward his nieces it doesn’t speak to their need to break free of such personal prisons so I’ve also included a song about individual choices taking precedence over the imposed-desires of others, The Beatles’ “I’ll Follow the Sun” (from the 1964 albums Beatles for Sale [U.K.] and Beatles ’65 [U.S.]) at https://, a live BBC performance sometime from the mid-1960s (but to keep the music flowing as long as possible, here’s a stereo remix of the song [with odd, funky guitar quality at the start], from 2011, along with the early, original version from 1960 back in the days when Pete Best was the drummer rather than Ringo Starr, Stuart Sutcliffe was still alive and bassist for the band, the rhythm and lyrics for "... Sun" are a bit different, while the recording quality’s not so hot because it’s just a rehearsal tape made at Paul McCartney’s Liverpool home).
Oscar Controversy (and the beat goes on)
Spike Lee with Journalism and Mass Communication
 Peabody Award for his documentary, If God Is Willing
and Da Creek Don't Rise
, about New Orleans'
recovery after Hurricane Katrina, 2011
 One other area to note this time around is the ongoing heated controversy about the upcoming Oscars—supposedly begun by Spike Lee although he says his intentions for not attending the Academy Awards ceremony this year were misunderstood (which I noted in my last posting within the lengthy review of The Hateful Eight [Quentin Tarantino, 2015])because we’re continuing to see a regression back to a White-dominated list of Oscar nominations with no people of color in the current acting races nor any minority-focused-thematics in the Best Picture competition (although, as a minor compensation, Mexican González Iñárritu is a nominated Best Director, for The Revenant); adding fuel to this entertainment-business-grown-into-fully-fired cultural-awareness is the fact that this situation’s happened 2 years in a row in Oscar’s acting categories but at least the Civil Rights-era-Selma (Ava DuVernay, 2014; review in our January 15, 2015 posting) was nominated for Best Picture last year (losing to González Iñárritu’s Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, 2014); however, there was considerable flack about Selma over no Best Director nod for DuVernay nor Best Actor inclusion of David Oyelowo (in that I wasn’t all that enthralled with Foxcatcher [Bennett Miller, 2014; review in our November 19, 2014 posting] I could easily have replaced its nominations for Miller and Steve Carell with these “slighted” ones for Selma even though Academy voters disagreed) just as there are complaints this year that neither Creed (Ryan Coogler, 2015; review in our December 2, 2015 posting) nor Straight Outta Compton 
(F. Gary Gray, 2015; review in our August 20, 2015 posting) made the Best Picture cut (although the former has a Best Supporting Actor nod for Sylvester Stallone and the latter’s on the Best Original Screenplay list)—which I honestly can’t argue with, as I wouldn’t have included them either for Best Picture, as shown in my Top !0 list at the head of this posting—although others have noted that lack of diversity in the nominees isn’t just based on race but also on sexual orientation, with highly-regarded-but-lesbian-themed-Carol also not up for Best Picture despite rave reviews and 2 Acting noms (this one, as you know, would have been added to my 10 nominees for Oscar’s Best Picture).

 So, with the above as useful (I sincerely hope) background info, here’s a cluster of links to this ongoing story, but I probably will just let this be enough on the issue unless I find something really interesting for you that may not have already been reported that much in the mainstream press (with the understanding that what I’m giving you here may be old news anyway by the time I get this posted, but that’s a drawback of even trying to be somewhat topical while not putting out a daily [hourly in some cases] update of my interests as many bloggers do).  Anyway, here’s what I’ve come across lately: Mark Ruffalo (himself nominated for Best Supporting Actor in Spotlight) says it’s not just the Oscars but that “The entire American system is rife with white privilege racism.  It goes into our justice system.”; Brits Michael Caine (not nominated for Best Actor as many, including me, thought he would be for Youth [Paolo Sorrentino, 2015; review in our January 14, 2016 posting]—although he’s won a couple of Oscar's Supporting Actor trophies previously) and Charlotte Rampling take exception to the quasi-boycott (Lee along with Jada Pinkett Smith and hubby Will Smith [some feel he could have been a Best Actor candidate for Concussion {Peter Landessman, 2015; review in our January 7, 2016 posting} but I must admit that he wouldn’t have made my final 5] now say they’re simply not attending the Oscar ceremony) of this year’s Oscars, with Caine saying “black actors should be ‘patient’ for Oscar nominations and he wouldn’t vote for an actor based on their race” (I wouldn’t either, but none that have been noted as passed by for substantial performances this year strike me as inadequate choices even if I would have chosen somebody else, so the question’s actually about recognizing accomplishment not manufacturing quotas; in fact I’d have definitely included Idris Elba as a Best Supporting Actor contender [Beasts of No Nation {Cary Fukunaga, 2015; review in our November 5, 2015 posting}]) while Rampling’s originally reported as saying this Oscar diversity outcry is “racist against whites,” although now she says those comments were misinterpreted; regarding an Oscar boycott, non-nominated-for-anything-to-do-with-Straight Outta Compton-Ice Cube says in regard to this annual ceremony: “’I never used to go anyway’ … [and] being upset about the situation was like ‘crying about not having enough icing on your cake’ … ‘We do movies for the fans … We got so much praise for this movie.’”

 In response to the above comments (and many more just like them), the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Board of Governors suddenly made some structural changes to start diversifying its mostly White-male-membership as well as restrict voting by those who haven’t been active in the industry for quite awhile, with these changes drawing negative responses from the types of members most likely to be impacted 
(I acknowledge proper recognition, though, that another reason for their concern is that it was a rapid-executive-decision—albeit one that many Academy members feel was long overdue—with no chance for input from the roughly 6,000 members at large; of course, the complaints about the Academy caving in to political correctness are already rabid on social media so you’ve got plenty of options for angry denunciations of the Governors’ decisions if you prefer), countered by positive comments from others such as González Iñárritu ([he] also asserted that diversity in the U.S. is a key reason why the nation is powerful and vibrant and that movies should reflect that. … ‘Cinema is a mirror by which we often see ourselves,’ he added. ‘That’s the role we play as filmmakers. If that power is not transmitted on the screens, there’s something wrong.’”)Paris Barclay, president of the Directors Guild of America (DGA), and David White, executive director of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), along with Ken Howard, president of that group (who did include Elba in their Best Supporting Actor nominees), with all of these guild honchos further agreeing that the real transformation must come from film industry executives in terms of more diversity in the workforce and its ensuing product (White: “We do not have enough people of color in the pipeline of decision making.”).  Despite whatever understanding there may be about a boycott of the Oscars, though, Chris Rock will still be the host, although he’s not likely to be too good-natured about this controversy even as he uses humor as a weapon to support the cause of greater inclusion and diversity in terms of who’s making movies, who’s in them, and, ultimately, what they’re all about.

 Finally, on a considerably lighter note, I’ll remind you that in a previous posting I said you could visit the extensive Blue Cat scriptwriting site where you're welcome to read all 5 current Oscar nominations for Original Screenplay (Bridge of Spies [Steven Spielberg, 2015; review in our October 15, 2015 posting], Ex Machina, Inside Out [Pete Doctor and Ronnie Del Carmen, 2015, review in our July 2, 2015 posting], Spotlight, Straight Outta Compton); that same site’s now offering 4 of the 5 Oscar nominees for Adapted Screenplay (The Big Short, Brooklyn, Carol, Room; The Martian’s not available at this time) so if you’d rather explore something quite different from all of the rancor noted above about the Best Picture and the various Acting finalists you can see what written words the Academy's scriptwriter members feel best represent them in terms of the concepts and dialogue used to lay the creative foundations for what the production teams and performers bring to engaging-virtual-life on the screen.  The folks at Blue Cat also have the script for Steve Jobs, not an Oscar nominee but winner of the Golden Globe award for Best Screenplay overall, original or adapted (Globe voters also nominated—even though they didn’t choose—Carol for Motion Picture, Drama and Idris Elba for Best Supporting Actor, so maybe the Academy voters should go have a talk [over drinks, of course] with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for advice).  Happy reading to you, whether you prefer controversy, history, or art for its own sake.
Related Links Which You Might Find Interesting:
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AND … at least until the Oscars for 2015’s releases have been awarded on Sunday, February 28, 2016 we’re also going to include reminders in each posting of very informative links where you can get updated tallies of which 2015 films made various individual critic’s  Top 10 lists and which ones have been nominated for and/or received various awards.  You may find the diversity among the various critics and the various awards competitions hard to reconcile at times—not to mention the often-significant-gap between critics’ choices and competition-award-winners (which usually pales in comparison to the even-more-noticeable-gap between box-office-success that you might want to monitor here, and the actual award-winners)—but as that less-than-enthusiastic-patron-of-the-arts, Plato, noted in The Symposium (385-380 BC)—roughly translated, depending on how accurate you wish the actual quote to be—“Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder,” so your choices are as valid as any of these others, especially if you can offer some rationale for your decisions (unlike many of the awards voters who simply fill out ballots, sometimes for films they’ve never seen).

To save you a little scrolling through the “various awards” list above, here are the Golden Globe winners for films and TV from 2015 and the Oscar nominees for 2015 film releases.

Here’s more information about Mustang: (2:18 featurette on the film prepared for its showing at the Directors Fortnight at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival; director Deniz Gamze Ergüven briefly explains her intentions with this story) 

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If you’d rather contact Ken directly rather than leaving a comment here please use my new email at  Thanks.

By the way, if you’re ever at The Hotel California knock on my door—but you know what the check out policy is so be prepared to stay for awhile.    Ken

P.S.  Just to show that I haven’t fully flushed Texas out of my system here’s an alternative destination for you, Home in a Texas Bar, with Gary P. Nunn and Jerry Jeff Walker.

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