Winter Sleep


Reviewed by: Richard Mowe

Intimate emotions on a epic scale in Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Winter Sleep.
"Ceylan explores such themes as moral responsibility, class and altruism with rigour."

Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan takes no prisoners in his uncompromising body of work, the latest example of which already is being touted as a strong contender for the Palme d’Or in some influential quarters.

Although running to an epic length at three hours the film deals with intimate emotions in a Chekhovian style against the stunning backdrop of a mountain village where the houses have been built into the rocks like a warren of nests.

The central character of Aydin (Haluk Bilginer) is a retired actor who aspires to play God. He runs a family hotel where his guests try to avoid being involved in lengthy conversations with their host.

He has growing delusions of grandeur which do not endear him to the local community, who find him pretentious, whereas he sees himself as a civilising and intellectual influence.

Slowly those around him begin to prick the bubble of his self-delusions. His sister (Demet Akbag) pours scorn over a weekly column in the local newspaper while his younger wife (Melisa Sözen) finds him “unbearable, selfish, spiteful and cynical.”

Ceylan explores such themes as moral responsibility, class and altruism with rigour, although the intricate style stretches the 196 minutes to breaking point. On occasions the title seems ironically apt. It is not obvious that Ceylan has complete control over the material, which meanders and wanders off course at times.

The director was discovered internationally in Cannes and has received prizes for Uzak, Three Monkeys and Once Upon A Time in Anatolia.

Whether he will land the ultimate accolade depends on the patience of Jane Campion's jury and what offerings take their attention between now and next Saturday.

Reviewed on: 17 May 2014
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A hotel owner gradually has his delusions stripped away from him.
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Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Writer: Ebru Ceylan, Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Starring: Haluk Bilginer, Melisa Sözen, Demet Akbag

Year: 2014

Runtime: 196 minutes

Country: Turkey, France, Germany

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