Winner of the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes, the new film from Turkish auteur Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, Three Monkeys, Climates) is an immersive and provocative Chekhovian drama.
Set in the picturesque and striking landscape of Cappadocia in Central Anatolia, Winter Sleep focuses on a small village, half-empty, in the wintry off-season. The film follows a local celebrity, Aydin (Haluk Bilginer), an actor who runs a small hotel with his wife, writes a column for the local newspaper, and is toying with the idea of producing a book on Turkish theatre.
Like all the villagers, Aydin has time on his hands, but as Ceylan's film progresses, the director carefully strips away the veneer that surrounds this self-satisfied and insular man. Through some magnificent set pieces, beautifully written and performed, we get a close look at Aydin's interactions with his wife, his recently divorced sister, and a family of locals who are tenants of one of his properties.
With a steady, penetrating gaze reminiscent of that which Ingmar Bergman brought to his chamber pieces, Ceylan cuts through the smug self-image of a man who considers himself of elevated stature, but is ultimately brought face-to-face with who and what he truly is. Awarded the International Critics Prize in Cannes in addition to the Palme d’Or, Winter Sleep is a compelling and hypnotic study of human frailty. (TIFF)
“Timeless” - The New York Times
“Stunning” - The Guardian
“Mesmerising” - Indiewire
“Compelling” - Time