- remarkable in every aspect 6/17/2014 12:00:00 AM by gerard_chaouat
I had the chance to see tonight this movie in "Positif" (a french, highly rated, cinema review) "avant Première". When I made the usual reservation for Positif readers/ subscriber, the reservation told me (and it is listed in the invitation) "we remind you that this movie lasts 3h and 16 minutes....". Unusual....
I was aware of that, but , as Michel Ciment pointed out, in his introduction, there are 1h 30 minutes movies which seem to last 4 hours....
and here, "on ne voit pas le temps passer" un-consciously used the title of a song by Jean Ferrat).
And, indeed, this is true. Very few "important" events happen in the film, but the degradation of the relation between the two main characters takes place little step by little step, and each dialogue is captivating, while the cast (all the cast) is wonderfully playing. Some scenes are surprising by their underneath violence (how a gift turns out to be an insult , and how the outrage is returned, is a flabbergasting sequence) The location in Anatolia, the winter atmosphere, and the remarkable photography adds a piece of charm to the film. At the end, you will remember that it all started by a little stone thrown at a car.... and wonder how you were so much immediately entrapped by the intrigue, so much that it could have lasted as long as the mother and the whore, another lengthy movie, you would not have complained.
I do not want to spoil you by describing the plot, but it brings so many reflections about society, aging of a relationship, and a couple, that ... you will want to see it again (which I will certainly do when it is theater released in August). It is an absolute masterpiece, and likely the best film of the decade......(and of course Ceylon best so fat) Go to see it !
- A masterpiece from one of the greatest film makers of our time 6/20/2014 12:00:00 AM by Seyirci
Winter Sleep is a masterpiece by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, a film shining with literary eloquence and incisive social criticism.
Aydin ("intellectual" in Turkish) is a failed former actor, now a hotel owner with sufficient inheritance to make him command the stage as a condescending "king" of a village in Cappadocia. He feels licensed to instruct, intrude and judge, not only on his pitiable tenants, but also on his disaffected young wife Nihal and divorced self-doubting sister Necla. This sentiment ostensibly extends to poor, uneducated and religious classes of the country, making Aydin a stereotype of the Turkish elite. The brutal taming of the horse is an allegory of his marriage; young and pretty Nihal is just another decorative item in his life, not an individual with her own rights and pursuits. Aydin also epitomizes a male-dominated society, cutting across levels of education and affluence.
A glimmer of hope comes with a stone breaking the glass. While ruthlessly and decisively able to overpower everyone else in his reign, Aydin is disturbingly challenged by a stubborn 10 year-old boy Ilyas (Arabic equivalent of Elijah, a harbinger of the Messiah).
Putting the lens on the perpetually pretending psyche of the western-styled intellectual, Winter Sleep portrays the Turkish nation struggling between the East and the West. Aydin claims to have ideals and ideas but has no intention to make a difference for the good, does not even attempt to empathize with his fellow citizens. His articulate quote from Shakespeare echoes a confession.
It's no coincidence that Nuri Bilge Ceylan was charmed by Chekhov, a like-minded author from yet another nation torn between civilizations.
Hats off to 2014 Palme d'Or judges for their audacity. By recognizing the value of Ceylan's work, they have enticed global audiences to risk 3 hours 16 minutes of their time to a non-commercial film, a feast of cinematography and acting bundled with literary gratification.
- A rich portrait of interpersonal tensions and emotional sufferings 1/19/2015 12:00:00 AM by hu-zhang
Mr Nuri Bilge Ceylan had made adventurous efforts in his movie "Winter Sleep". Rewardingly, Palme d'Or Awards was passed onto his hands in 2014. A stunning feature of this movie was the eloquence of major characters. Because of this distinct feature, the audiences need feel comfortable to catch up with a large amount of intellectual debates and accusative questionings between the characters, in order to tap into the characters' inner worlds.
During three hours and sixteen minutes, a rich and deep portrait of various emotional sufferings are gradually unfolded. The audiences are exposed to intense conflicts between the rich and the poor, a complacent brother and his critical divorcée sister, an egoistic husband and an unhappy young wife and also a naive philanthropist and a resentful villager. Also, there are explosions and accumulations of negative emotional outbursts such as distrust, prejudice, loneliness, fear, suffocation, delusion, cynicism, hopelessness and hatred.
While viewing these interpersonal tensions and emotional despairs, it seems to me that our characters were all wearing shackles which had stopped them from finding their true inner strength. For Aydin, the shackle was his distrust and emotional rigidity. For Necla, it was her disapproving attitude and reluctance to change. For Nihal, it was her pessimistic view of her future. For Hamdi, it was his deeply-rooted shame and hatred towards the rich. For Hamid's little son Ilysa, it was his inability to fight against social unfairness. For Hamdi's bother Ismail, it was his involuntary submissiveness and unresisting. And perhaps due to these emotional scars, they all felt deprived of freedom and thus pushed each other into corners in order to feel justified.
Mr Nuri Bilge Ceylan opened an abundance of philosophical discussions in this movie. Seemingly he was unwilling to provide effective solution to ease any of these social and interpersonal tensions depicted in the movie. Nevertheless, Mr Ceylan did examine Aydin's self-revelation after he clashed with his sister Necla and his wife Nihal. When Aydin's false ego was badly stricken, the loneliness and pain in Aydin's heart must have been unbearably agonizing. From that moment, the movie started to openly unveil Aydin's vulnerabilities. He contemplated at his parents' graveyard. His messy hair was flying nowhere in the snow, looking terribly sad. When he showed genuine care to the young motorcyclist, that warmth didn't returned back to him. The releasing of a wild horse back to Anatolia steppe could indicate his longing to loosen his own rigidity and forceful mind. While waiting for his run-away train to Istanbul, he frankly demanded the company of his assistance Hidayet. He paid attention to a dead fox lying beside the rails in the snow and even checked birds of prey on the nearby tree. He watched the dying rabbit pitifully during hunting. At the end of the movie, Aydin admitted to himself that he was unable to live through life without Nihal. At this point, when Aydin acknowledged his emotional vulnerabilities, it appeared that he regained his peace and order, and even kicked off his long-term writing project on "the History of Turkish Theatre". Aydin perhaps realized that he no longer needed to be the superior one who was emotionally distant to people and himself, who felt like a king by being a columnist in his imaged kingdom, who loved his own civilized manner to contrast others'clumsiness, who was relying on rigidity to feel strong?
Overall, this is a thought-provoking movie, managed by a master director and performed by impeccable cast. I would love to watch this movie again after a few years, as I wish to comprehend more of its richness and depth when life rewards me with more personal experiences.
- A Masterpiece 1/25/2015 12:00:00 AM by paulscofield68
Since I saw Uzak (Distant, his first film) years ago and enjoyed it immensely, I've made a point of seeing every film Nuri Bilge Ceylan makes. Unfortunately, his esteem in my mind was gradually fading while others, like the Russian Andrey Zvyagintsev's were rising, his Leviathan is an excellent film. With Winter Sleep, though, Ceylan has made a masterpiece- easily his finest film, and I am in awe of his talent. To make a film that is a character study of a small hotel owner's life at its twilight into such a profound meditation on so many themes...pure genius! And to learn that this movie didn't get nominated for an Academy Award...fortunately the French awarded it top prize at Cannes. It's better than Ida and Leviathan (though Leviathan is a powerful, important film). Extremely well acted; beautifully filmed. The power, though, is in the dialogues...rare the emotional and intellectual intelligence on display here. An absolute must-see for fans of art-house foreign language cinema.
- Not Resisting Evil 12/18/2014 12:00:00 AM by ferguson-6
Greetings again from the darkness. Brace yourself for 3 hours and 19 minutes of heavy listening. Yes, the film was named Palme d'Or at the most recent Cannes, and the dialogue is exceptionally well written, but this isn't one you can just kick back and enjoy. It requires some effort. The two big "action" sequences involve a 10 year old boy tossing a rock and later, his too proud father dropping something into a fireplace. The real action occurs between the ears of the viewer as we assimilate the moods and nuances and double-meanings that accompany the stream of conversations.
Award-winning director Nuri Bilge Ceylan co-wrote the script with his wife Ebru Ceylan, and that probably attributes to the sharpness and poignancy of the relationships between Aydin (Haluk Bilginer) and his wife Nihal (Melisa Sozen) and his sister Necla (Demet Akbag). Much of the film is devoted to one of two things: Aydin making himself feel important, or Nihal and/or Necla voicing their opinions on why he isn't. While that may sound simple, the wordplay and grounded performances often leave us with the feeling that we are eavesdropping on very private conversations.
Filmed in the breathtakingly beautiful Cappadocia region of Anatolia, the geological spectrum contrasts mightily with the near claustrophobic interior scenes that dominate the run time. In fact, when one of the characters does venture outdoors, viewers will find themselves breathing easier and in relief of the stressful intimacy of other scenes.
Hotel Othello is cut directly into one of the more picturesque hillsides of the area, and owner Aydin spends his days locked away in his office, kicking off his latest article bashing societal and morality changes within the village. Aydin has a pretty easy life, as he has inherited the hotel and numerous income producing rental properties from his father. Aydin's career as a stage actor also adds a bit to his local celebrity (and ego). He fancies himself an important man with an important voice, and never hesitates to broadcast his charitable offerings.
Aydin lives at the hotel with his much younger wife Nihal, and his recently divorced sister Necla. The dysfunction abounds as none of the three much respect the others, and manage to express this in the most incisive, passive-aggressive ways possible. There are two extended (each pushing 30 minutes) exchanges that are unlike anything you may have ever seen on screen. One has Necla letting Aydin know what she thinks of his articles, while the other has Nihal finally coming clean with her feelings of being held back, emotionally captive. Both scenes are captivating and powerful, yet voices are never raised and facial expressions are crucial. This is intimate filmmaking at its best and most uncomfortable ? psychological warfare would not be too extreme as a description.
Conflict is crucial for a dialogue-driven film. Some of the best include My Dinner with Andre, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and 12 Angry Men. These are the type of movies that cause us to study all the subtleties within a scene ? not just what is said, but how it is said and how the message is conveyed. Pride, loneliness and despair run rampant through the characters here and the philosophical discussions force each to lay bare their soul.
For so little action, an undercurrent of wild emotions flows through every scene. In addition to the three leads, there is a character named Hamdi (an Islamic teacher/adviser, played by Serhat Mustafa Kilic) who plays the role of peace-keeper and mediator. His constant smile is but a mask he is forced to wear in his role, and I found his character the most painful of all to watch.
The title may be interpreted as either a "hibernation" or "sleep-walking through life's final stages", and both fit very well. The hotel provides a cave-like hiding place for Aydin, as he pretends to play his final role – that of an important man in the village. There are some truly masterful moments in the film, and it's easy to see why it appeals to only a certain type of film goer. Inspired by the short stories of Chekhov (The Wife, Excellent People), as well as the writings of Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, and Voltaire, means the viewer is investing emotionally in characters quite full of resentment and oh so dishonest with themselves. It's an undertaking that is difficult, but does offer the opportunity to test one's listening skills and ability to read body language. It also comes with wisdom such as ? Donkeys lead camels (you'll have to watch the movie!).