Aydin, a former actor, runs a small hotel in central Anatolia with his young wife Nihal with whom he has a stormy relationship and his sister Necla who is suffering from her recent divorce. In winter as the snow begins to fall, the hotel turns into a shelter but also an inescapable place that fuels their animosities...Written by
Cannes Film Festival
Composed by L.Michelini
Courtesy of Universal Music Publishing Ricordi SRL, Universal Music Taxim Edition See more »
Beautiful in landscape and language.
"You always float to the surface like olive oil." Necla (Demet Akbag)
Although the landscape of Turkey's Anatolia region could have been the center of Winter Sleep, its rugged terrain is not. The heart of this dark world as it prepares for winter is Aydin (Haluk Nilginer), a wealthy landlord and former actor, whose challenges are rent-delinquent commoners and a rebellious young wife, Nihal (Melisa Sozen), who has attained an identity as a seeker of charity for villagers. As his sister suggests above, he has the ability to dominate and set himself apart like olive oil, being nearly lonely with his power.
Almost as if director Nuri Bukge Ceylan had wanted not to recreate Dr. Zhivago, this wintry drama (over 3 hours) is not romantic in a traditional sense: no swelling music, no smothering snow, just characters in close quarters gaining warmth from their fires and from their universal need for love. Even Aydin struggles to understand and shepherd Nihal into his conservative world of judgment and accountability as he forces his way into her charity's books to protect her and probably his fortune.
When a small boy throws a rock at Aydin's car window, a chain of events unleashes to draw together two proud worlds—owner and vassal—to reconcile pride and owed rent. Running parallel is his fight against Nihal's pride and his own paternalistic intrusion into her world, where he can be counted on to snoop.
That's partly because he writes a column in the local newspaper that covers oddities, for Aydin, like a local imam, whose great sin seems to be that he's unkempt and doesn't carry himself like a cleric should. Aydin's sister is there to point out his arrogance and to remind us that even in this remote world human beings can show their pride as well as any American politician.
This Palme d'Or winner at Cannes is as commanding as the best laid thriller except that its dialogue is demanding and its sensibility way out of the ordinary, even for the notoriously distancing Steppes. Winter Sleep is neither cold nor soporific—it is life.
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