Jane Campion’s jury awarded the Palme d’Or for Best Film at Cannes this year to this provocative and engrossing study of unwitting male pride and its fallout by Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2014
“Nuri Bilge Ceylan, maker of the arthouse hit Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, presented another astonishing three-hour chamber epic. Winter Sleep is set amid the rock-hewn houses of picture-postcard Cappadocia, but there’s nothing cosy-scenic about the story and characters. An ageing actor (Haluk Bilginer) has retired to run a hotel. He is also landlord to poor, resentful tenants. When a boy busts his car window with a stone, the fissures spread through his life, his family (wife, sister) and even, existentially, his sense of self.
Long, marvellous, slyly lacerating conversation scenes – Bergman meets Chekhov – unspool in the hotel’s cave-like, lamplit rooms. Unlike Socrates, Ceylan’s hero comes to learn it’s the over-examined life – or the over-planned one like his own – that is not worth living… In the last hour the action breaks free and roams the countryside, seeking catharsis, even a redemptive, epiphanic comedy. As any 200-minute film should, this one grows and grows. By the end it has become a poignant Advent calendar of human hope, fear and battered but embattled optimism.” — Nigel Andrews, Financial Times
“Nuri Bilge Ceylan is at the peak of his powers with Winter Sleep, a richly engrossing and ravishingly beautiful magnum opus… A multifaceted study of human frailty whose moral implications resonate far beyond its remote Turkish setting.” — Justin Chang, Variety