Kis uykusu (Winter Sleep)
Winter 2015 wWednesday series
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at 7:00pm
Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Screenplay by Ebru Ceylan and Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Based on the short story by Anton Chekhov
Starring Demet Akbag , Melisa Sözen, and Haluk Bilginer
Rated NR ·
Turkey / France / Germany
English and Turkish
Kis uykusu (Winter Sleep)
Winner of the Palme d’Or at last year’s Cannes, the new film from Turkish auteur Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia) is an immersive, meditative chamber drama about a small-town innkeeper whose cultural pretensions and smug self-satisfaction are fatefully undermined over the course of an eventful winter.
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. In its three-hour-plus running time it follows a kind of local celebrity, Aydin (Haluk Bilginer, Rosewater), an actor who runs a small hotel with his wife Nihal (Melisa Sözen), 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 Necla (Demet Akbag), 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 above the quotidian but is ultimately brought face-to-face with who and what he truly is. Controlled and spare while using its length to its advantage, Winter Sleep is compelling, hypnotic, and absolutely deadly in its aim.
Nuri Bilge Ceylan has gained a reputation as one of the most innovative and accomplished filmmakers of the early twenty-first century. Winter Sleep is a magnificent addition to his growing filmography.
“Following Ceylan’s sublime 2011 drama Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, this equally assured but considerably more accessible character study tunnels into the everyday existence of a middle-aged former actor turned comfortably situated hotel owner—and emerges with a multifaceted study of human frailty whose moral implications resonate far beyond its remote Turkish setting. Simultaneously vast and intimate, sprawling and incisive, and talky in the best possible sense, Winter Sleep is a richly engrossing and ravishingly beautiful magnum opus that surely qualifies as the least boring 196-minute movie ever made.” (Justin Chang, Variety)
“This story, with its weary evening conversations, creaky and outdated hierarchies, familial discord, inherited pain and a longing for the city and high culture, owes an enormous debt to Chekhov (he’s thanked at the end). However, at its heart is something to which Ceylan keeps returning in films: a portrait of a restless, difficult man who feels out of time and place, and whose behaviour does him no favours… That said, when the film gets outdoors, it soars, and Ceylan continues to dig with acute intelligence into the dark corners of everyday human behaviour.” (Dave Calhoun, Time Out London)