Drop everything for Winter Sleep: London Cinemas are treated to Palme d'Or winner
WE LOVE: A chance to see the Nuri Bilge Ceylan's 'Winter Sleep': UK release, long awaited, is finally here.
Winter Sleep is latest masterpiece to come out of Turkey’s most acclaimed director Nuri Bilge Ceylan, whose previous effort Once Upon A Time In Anatolia, won the Grand Jury Prize in 2011, along with a host of other awards. If you see just one foreign-language film this year, make it this.
A singular film-maker
Despite winning Cannes’ Grand Prix, Nuri Bilge Ceylan describes himself as a photographer first, a screenwriter second, an actor third – and only then as a director. At a time when film crews are swelling, Ceylan remains that most old-fashioned of filmmakers: the consummate auteur, whose personal seal is clearly stamped on each of his works. He micromanages his productions from behind his camera, sometimes even stepping out in front of it.
The bleak Anatolian steppe continues to be a determined feature of the auteur – in Once Upon a Time in Anatolia its brooding landscape could almost be seen as the protagonist Winter Sleep focuses on a mountaintop hotel owner, Mr. Aydin (Haluk Bilginer). Aydin has delusions of grandeur within his community and sees himself as the local kingpin of this small pond.
However, soon enough it becomes clear that Aydin is something of a joke to his village – even his wife and sister, with whom he lives, fail to take him seriously. The film opens with Ilyas (Emirhan Doruktutan), a poor boy whose father cannot afford to pay rent, throwing a stone at the windscreen of Aydin. The following events conspire to remove Aydin from his imagined pedestal and face the realities and hardships of community life. He is forced to confront both his disgruntled tenants and himself in a winding tale of self-discovery.
Like Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, Winter Sleep combines a sturdy philosophical constitution with a fairytale quality, never straying from the meta-reality that what the audience is watching is a story. Yet this is not to say that the film’s subscribes to fairytale optimism. Ceylan chills his audience with social truths that remind us of the economic inequalities of human society. Deeply serious and clocking in at
a hefty 196 minutes, Winter Sleep is no shrinking violet. Yet the films' gorgeousness and thoughtfulness maintain traction, preventing the mind from wandering.
Those who fall under his spell of the Turkish auteur can discover his oeuvre on the Southbank at the BFI's Nuri Bilge Ceylan season, this November. Details here.