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"My kingdom may be small but at least I'm king here."
classicsoncall23 September 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I guess if I were looking at this movie the 'right' way, Aydin (Haluk Bilginer) would be the bad guy of the piece. He had the temerity to expect payment of rent from long delinquent tenants, he and friend Hidayet (Ayberk Pekcan) returned a young boy to his home after the kid threw a rock at their car breaking a window, he tried to reason with his wife Nihal (Melisa Sözen) over being excluded from a meeting in his own home regarding her charitable work, and endured a long conversation with his divorced sister Necla (Demet Akbag), who admitted that she had never seen any of the plays he had written.

The crux of the story seemed to rest in Aydin's relationship with his wife in a marriage that had hit an impasse after many years. She stated that he was selfish, spiteful and cynical, and maybe he was, but the story didn't really seem to lay out those qualities in the man. What it did seem to reveal was Aydin's compulsion to insert himself in Nihal's charitable work against her will, but at the same time, she appeared to be entirely secretive about it, enough to raise some kind of suspicion.

And then there was the business about the burning money. I'm not sure why Ismail (Nejat Isler) would have considered it an insult, but he only added to the affront by destroying what was offered in good faith. If he was that perturbed about accepting charity, he could have used it to pay the rent he owed Nihal's husband, and used the experience to help him get back on his feet again.

So maybe for this viewer, there's some sort of cultural divide that clouds my understanding of what director Nuri Bilge Ceylan was trying to achieve here. I can say that the effort was made somewhat compelling with the distinctive photography amid a rather harsh landscape. But all too often, I was left frustrated by a host of characters always attempting to sort things out without ever doing so. Maybe my problem is that I relate to the character of Aydin so much that I don't see the faults that other viewers do. Be that as it may, my opinion of the picture doesn't extend to other Turkish films, as I found both "The Bandit" and "My Father and My Son" to be more accessible in terms of understanding what those pictures were trying to say.
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Reasonably engaging but slow and seemingly interminable
grantss8 August 2015
Reasonably engaging but slow and seemingly interminable.

A man, Aydin (played by Haluk Bilginer) and his wife run a small hotel in a small village in central Anatolia, Turkey. The movie examines the relationships between Aydin and some of the other people in the village, and how these relationships change.

Fairly engaging - you do feel for Aydin in his various predicaments. However, the movie is ponderously slow and, at over three hours, incredibly long. This tests your commitment and engagement, and ultimately the movie is quite dull.

Is it too much to ask to move things along at something other than snail's pace, and to wrap it up quicker?
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Not Resisting Evil
ferguson-618 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
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!).
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Extremely long boring movie
deloudelouvain9 December 2015
First of all let me tell you my complete disbelief of such a high rating for this movie. I try to understand why people would give it such a high rating but I must be too dumb to get it because honestly this movie is so boring I had to watch in three times and even then I almost fell asleep three times. Don't get me wrong, the actors are all good, the filming is good as well. But it doesn't matter if you have the best actors possible or the worst actors possible, if you make a movie about the extremely boring life of extremely boring people then you get an extremely boring movie. And if you make a movie that last for more then three hours about nothing then you get an extremely long boring movie. Because let me tell you, and here is a spoiler, so if you want to stop reading this review before I spoil it for you then this is the moment. This movie is about nothing and it last more then three hours. Unbelievable people like that kind of nonsense. I simply don't get it.
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Beautiful in landscape and language.
jdesando21 January 2015
"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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the cosmically intangible yet intrinsically tangible incapability of communication among us humans
lasttimeisaw10 December 2017
A wisp of smoke pluming from the tussock, this is the opening shot of Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Palme d'or winning tome WINTER SLEEP, and it impeccably recapitulates what Ceylan angles to reify: the cosmically intangible yet intrinsically tangible incapability of communication among us humans.

Our protagonist is the salt-and-pepper, middle-aged Aydin (Bilginer), a quondam thespian (a term which he prefers than "actor"), who runs a mountaintop hotel called "Othello" in Cappadocia of the Central Anatolia. For those who are au fait with Ceylan's track record and artistic felicity, it comes as an invigorating surprise to see a concise-to-wordy volte-face here, as this 196-minutes saga is chiefly composed of long-winded conversation segments (with no embellishment of accompaniments to boot), only intermediately larded with its ongoing actions and the sublime, postcard-ready shots of the magnificent topography of the locale, which is able to rouse even the most torpid wanderlust out of hibernation, Ceylan assures us its natural beauty is unadulterated and the film would land on its feet eventually through its dramaturgic toil.

With winter looming around, the hotel business is in its troughs, but Aydin's sedate life is slowly descending into a personal quagmire due to both in-house and extraneous forces. The crisis within is the irreconcilable rift between him and his closest kin, namely his divorced sister Necla (Akbag, coalescing a languid easiness with sharp-edged spite) and his wife Nihal (Sözan), who is only half of his age. Their first debate is about Necla's "not resisting evil" supposition, an airy-fairy notion completely throws oneself on the mercy of other's quarter, before soon it exacerbates into many a personal snide, between Necla and Nihal firstly, then a protracted sibling verbal sparring adding insult to injury, from introspectively dialectical to deliberately catty, Ceylan hits home with his onion-peeling relentlessness to censure a detrimental propensity among intelligentsia: constantly attempting to earn one-upmanship by thinly-veiled denigration. Apparently, Aydin wins this round and Necla willfully takes her bow and never returns thenceforth.

The meat of Aydin and Nihal's nuptial rub comes to the fore later, starkly chaste, their relationship has already been on the rocks for years, Nihal tries to ease her "trophy wife" shame by plunging into a fund-raising business for schools and children, refusing Aydin's interference of any kind, apart from accepting his anonymous charity from time to time. She cannot bear his non- threatening but chronically encroaching superciliousness, yet has no moxie to put the kibosh on their marriage in gridlock. As for Aydin, he sees all too well of Nihal's fix and cunningly barters his subservience for her entrapment "I love you, and I know you don't love me, but you cannot get your cake and eat it too!", that is the connotation. The cruel manifestation of selfish love from those who are endowed with clout and money. And later in a conversation with a local teacher Levent (Saribacak, exemplifies cogently how to shoot the booze-emboldened sideswipes), which goes argumentative, Aydin seemingly has the final say with a caustic rejoinder but the subsequent spewing betrays that an inward damage is done.

Outwardly, it is the gap between castes that writs large and cannot be mediated, the family of Aydin's hard-up tenants, brothers Hamdi (Kiliç) and Ismail (Isler) cannot pay their rent on time and the ensuing dispute becomes rather ugly, and when a broken car window impels Hamdi to humble himself in front of a condescending Aydin, the Janus-faced reality seeps into the scenario in both castes, from smile to curse, from bonhomie to grumbling, all in a trice, even Aydin's chauffeur/assistant Hidayet (Pekcan), who is not above to hector those less fortunate tenants, but meanwhile has to carry all his master's luggage in a snowfall day, with the latter wandering with idle hands, so it is not surprising to see him one minute ago promise to keep a secret at the behest of Aydin and the next minute, casually divulges it to another party on the phone, the well-adjusted equilibrium between obedience and defiance is all too close to home.

Indubitably, WINTER SLEEP is first and foremost, an actor's showpiece, leading actor Haluk Bilginer competently hammers out his delivery on the strength of his word-wielding expertise and telegraphs Aydin's inscrutable train of thought when lines are not proffered. Melisa Sözen, on the other hand, brilliantly portrays a more emotionally readable persona and her best scenes are in the cathartic episode, when Nihal tries to use money to buy her conscience in front of a seething Nejat Isler (emotive with a commensurate restraint, upstaging the rest in his two scenes), and the story reaches its apogee, but in post-mortem, it is a missing opportunity that Ceylon doesn't apply his "not resisting evil" theory for a trial run here, which in return points up Ceylon's own guarded and idealized stance of the have-nots: they are willing to die for dignity, the only remnant left for them to weaponize.

An illuminating stew of the perennial vagaries (religion, philosophy, morality and class stratification, etc.) obstructing our day-to-day communications, WINTER SLEEP mark's Ceylon's highest achievement so far for his profound perspective in fleshing out a conundrum that is elementally complex and sophisticatedly widespread.
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Bleak, Deep, Intelligent... Bergmanian...
ElMaruecan8231 October 2020
I didn't know what to expect from Nuri Bilge Ceylan's "Winter Sleep", but the title gave me the right hint. I could feel some introspective vibes from that title that sounded like Ingmar Bergman's "Winter Light". That the film ran over three hours did scare me a little, I dreaded the borefest but as soon as it started I knew the guide to my journey would be a competent filmmaker who wouldn't indulge into narrative tricks to entertain me. This is a serious and deep movie, that never feels too long or wordy and that can't be labeled as pretentious because it questions and even mocks that elitist pretension.

Aydin (Haluk Bilginer) could be the alter-ego of Ceylan, a former actor owning a mountaintop hotel in Anatolia, which is far from the tourism-friendly archetypes associated to Turkey. Don't expect a sunny sky and shades of blue from the Mediterranean sea, we are in a place that is dominated by the natural elements, where urban turmoils have no bearing whatsoever on the inhabitants. It's not exoticism but escapism as those who live here are either too poor to move out or voluntarily exiled themselves from the city, out of an urge to find some inner peace or to fulfill some projects, others are just letting their soul hibernating, hoping for sunnier tomorrows.

But isolation can either bring the best or the worst and where Aydin finds inspiration to the columns he writes and his procrastinated project of writing a memoir on Turkish theatre, his younger wife Nihar (Melissa Sozen) and his sister Necla (Demet Akbag) find boredom and desperately look for any possible loophole that can guide them into an oasis of meaning, even artificial. That's the paradox of people trapped together with each one going in one direction, at the end you're estranged to the closest ones. The general idea might sound too pompous but it is handled through powerful conversations where one snarky remark can snowball into more devastating and hurtful comments, revealing the characters' deepest secrets and insecurities.

Aydin is a man who never refuses dialogues, he cares about people and is generally ready to listen. But within his own intellectual certitudes, he passes as an arrogant man, incapable to understand the little people, whereas the tenants of the residences he owns, people who live in religion (while he's the educated and open-minded) and with time both his sister and wife also feel belittled. Though Aydin does nothing offensive and insulting, it's all in his attitude, something that is only partially betrayed through little patronizing thoughts he shares here and there or hides behind his eloquence.

But I make it sound as if the film doesn't deal with a story, there are events that break the relative monotony. A kid throws a rock on Aydin's jeep, he's the son of Ismail, a man who's been put in jail and whose belongings were confiscated by money collectors (umbeknownst to Aydin). Ismael (Nejat Isler with his piercing eyes) reminded me of the lower-class husband in the Iranian film "A Separation", a man incapable to feel empathy toward upper class people no matter how well-intentioned they are. He's a prisoner of his own prejudices and unlike his brother, the local imam, finds refuge in alcohol rather than religion. The brother (Serhat Mustafa Kiliç) constantly sugarcoats his words with syrupy politeness and an exaggerated smile that reinforces Aydin's perception of religious people as hypocrites and bigots.

But in one of the most powerful scenes of the film, the sister blames Aydin for being hypocritical too, and judgmental, he condemns people of religion while having never set a food in a mosque and dilutes his frustration in a vain desire to please some fans. It escalates to the point that Aydin as a defensive mechanism insults her, calling her an eternal malcontent venting her post-divorce anger. Later, a similar conversation occurs when he accuses his wife of being too naïve with her fundraising projects and criticizing her lack of bookkeeping skills. Aydin can't realize that this is less a project than an opportunity to give her life a meaning. But we know a bad guy he's not and "Winter Sleep" is only the chronicle of isolation and how it makes people drive people into spinning in their own private areas, so much privacy that even when people discuss, you never see them in the same frames, an interesting trick conveying a double isolation.

It's an existential condition that Aydin disregards as a luxury, real people have no time for such foolishness; during winter, they have to think of fire, school, food, even hunting. The film takes us to one scene to another where all is up to us is to listen to these people, to their ideas, their perceptions, an inebriated dinner leads a man to quote "Richard III" and rejects conscience as a trick used by cowards. In a parallel scene, when Nihar offers money to Ismail's brother out of guilt-stricken charity, Ismail acts as if her good conscience meant absolutely nothing to him. The film shows the eternal gaps between people who can afford thinking and some who can only resign themselves for better or worse, an imam, an alcoholic or a widower who tolerates adversity.

Another conversation has the women talk about how we can fight evil by letting him act and see if it can self-destruct, Aydin rejects the idea without realizing that it's the exact way people behave, by surrendering to their own demons while others just let the flow of life drown them and don't bother fighting it. It's easier to deal with the evil that governs us than whatever belongs to the other. And that the most meaningful and humbles words are spoken in voice-over makes the ending bittersweet and frustrating, but so relatable. For a film so rich in communication, it's rather infuriating that a few people really communicate.
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Haunting and mesmerizing
Red_Identity11 December 2014
How is it that I'd heard about so many foreign films from this year that are being nominated or gaining traction with critic bodies, yet I had never heard of this until today and it's a PalmeD'or winner? Anyways, absorbing, mesmerizing, pretty haunting work here. The cast is aces all around, and the film does a great job of really creeping up on you and keeping you more and more hypnotized as you're immersed in the conversations between these fascinating, well- developed characters. Definitely the best foreign-language film I've seen this year and very strongly recommended. In some ways, it reminds me of Mr. Turner in that both do flow and look like pieces of poetry and paintings, not just visually but atmospherically.
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One Of The Most Engrossing, Mesmerizing & Satisfying Films Of 2014
CinemaClown14 February 2015
Winner of the prestigious Palme d'Or at 2014 Cannes Film Festival, Winter Sleep arrives with high expectations but succeeds amazingly well in living up to its new-found honour for this Turkish drama is simply one of the most engrossing, mesmerizing & satisfying narratives to surface on the silver screen in the past year, and is definitely one of the best films of 2014.

Set in Anatolia, the story of Winter Sleep concerns Aydın; the wealthy owner of a mountaintop hotel who was once an actor but has since fallen into the hibernation mode over the years. The plot covers the chaos his self-involved persona brings to his small kingdom as the animosity of his loved ones & the poor people under his reign begins surfacing once the winter approaches.

Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, the film takes a very methodical, patient & firm approach with its narrative which does a stellar job in slowly unraveling the inner details of the various characters inhabiting this story. The entire story is an amalgamation of one conversation after another but it's how each discussion begins & ends plus seamlessly switches from one to another that makes it such an immersive experience.

The locations are wonderfully chosen, set pieces are finely detailed, the hotel itself creates a calm but secluded ambiance which becomes all the more suffocating on the advent of winter. Camera-work is mostly still yet effective plus the landscapes are beautifully photographed, its 196 minutes of runtime never really bothers for the most part, thanks to its breezy storytelling & the score makes its presence felt just when it's required.

Coming to the performances, every single actor here chips in strongly in their given roles & leave nothing to complain about. Haluk Bilginer delivers a magnificent performance as Aydın, and is brilliantly supported by Demet Akbağ & Melisa Sözen who play his sister & wife, respectively. The rest of the cast also shines since each character is deftly scripted & gradually developed which differentiates them from caricatures.

On an overall scale, Winter Sleep is an intensely gripping, masterfully told & exquisitely layered study of a self-righteous character that also takes an interesting look at failing relationships, old age regrets, class divides, and the morals of right & wrong. And despite its challenging runtime, dialogue-driven plot & slow-burn narration, it manages to be a truly immersive & absorbing cinema that's worthy of your time & money. Highly recommended.
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Good Film From An Overrated Director
jack_o_hasanov_imdb28 August 2021
Nuri Bilge Ceylan was not one of my favorite directors. I watch his films by admitting that he is a very overrated director. The plot of this movie was very plain and simple. But as always, it was visually stunning. I really liked your acting performances.
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Winter Storm
westsideschl1 June 2015
It takes script, acting and directorial skill to keep a film flowing while still captivating for over three (3) hours. Some credit goes to Chekov for the framework of isolating peoples of different educational; economic; status; etc. backgrounds in one isolated arena and let them duke it out - verbally. The other credit goes to the carved cave dwellings, some of which date back about a thousand years while others are more recent, of the more recent some are quite elaborately constructed, one of which is the film's setting - a modern caved hotel. Incidentally, the source material for the hills/cliffs is volcanic ash - Tuff (looks like sandstone), a serene natural beauty contrast to the human personalities. Film should have been titled "Winter Storm" as a cabin fever style escalation of verbosity, mostly on issues that range from individual/personal values of the film's characters to more abstractly, human values in general, begin to provoke animosities and distrust. The central foil is the hotel owner, Aydin, and because of his appropriately stone like demeanor the diatribes just bounce off of him; even seeming to reflect more of the accusers themselves. I'm inclined to think that a bit more editing would have produced the same film in a little shorter length, but then too we live in a time driven, multitasking environment in contrast to the film's appropriate - time moves glacially slow setting. So the film's molasses slow tedium may have had a purpose.
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Meditative drama
briancham199431 January 2021
This film's drama is slow and meditative - a far cry from the soap operas that it constantly belittles. It centres on a remote Turkish village and the wealthy but reclusive patriarch who starts off with an outwardly principled appearance but turns out to be judgemental and destructive. The dynamics of the town slowly unravel and reveal a backstory that shows that things are not as idyllic as the pleasantries and scenery might suggest - the gap between the desperate and the wealthy, the lack of real love and the chronic dissatisfaction and longing for the past.
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Very good...
Thanos_Alfie27 January 2021
"Winter Sleep" is a Drama movie in which we follow the life of a wealthy man living in a small village with his wife. He owns a hotel and many houses in the village something that makes him even richer. His life is full of conflicts with his wife and with a tenant who owes him some rents.

I was happily surprised by this movie because it was very interesting despite its long duration. Something that made the movie even more interesting was the interpretations of the cast and more specifically of Haluk Bilginer who played as Aydin, Serhat Mustafa Kiliç who played as Hamdi and Melisa Sözen who played as Nihal. The direction which was made by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, it was simply amazing and he succeeded on making us understand the struggle of the people and the family issues that our two main characters have. All in all, I have to say that "Winter Sleep" is an interesting movie and I recommend everyone to watch it.
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Ceylan's Best Film for Several Years Exposes the Superficialities of Modern Life
l_rawjalaurence14 June 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Set in Cappadochia, central Anatolia, WINTER SLEEP (KIS UYKUSU) focuses on the life of Aydın (Haluk Bilginer) a retired actor who now runs the Hotel Othello. The name is significant, as it reveals his true preoccupation with performance, a trait reinforced by the framed bills on his study wall. With plenty of family money at his disposal he has no need to work, but that does not stop him from screwing every penny out of his tenants with the help of his henchperson Hidayet (Ayberk Pekcan). Although perpetually drawing attention to his poor background and unhappy childhood, it's clear that Aydın's life revolves totally around himself; and that the only way he can salve his conscience is to make charitable donations, preferably anonymously.

With KIŞ UYKUSU we are back on thematic territory that director Nuri Bilge Ceylan previously explored in KASABA. He readily acknowledges Chekhov as an inspiration for creating a world where no one has much to do except talk to one another. Aydın busies himself with a variety of tasks, including writing a column for the local newspaper and writing a book on the history of the Turkish theater. His sister Necla (Demet Akbağ) spends much of her time lolling on the sofa and wondering whether she should forgive her ex-husband for an unhappy marriage. Aydın's wife Nihal (Melissa Sözen) is equally indolent; her sole aim in life seems to be to chair a committee of prosperous locals dedicated to raising money for the local school.

Stylistically speaking KIŞ UYKUSU is slightly different from Ceylan's earlier work; there are fewer reflective sequences designed to prompt reflection on the landscape and the elements, and more face-to-face confrontations between the protagonists. They emphasize the basic emptiness of their lives, as they have nothing to but talk and talk, in contrast to their tenants - for example the local imam Hamdi (Serhat Kılıç) who wonders about taking a second job so as to make ends meet. On the other hand these lengthy conversations draw attention to the protagonists' love of surfaces; unable (or unwilling) to engage with life's realities, they would rather talk at rather than with one another.

The unbelievable landscapes of Cappadochia in winter, with its fairy chimneys and unspoiled Anatolian terrain, offers a point of contrast to the characters' musings. While they spend their time both literally and mentally imprisoned within Aydın's hotel, the landscape offers a reminder of timeless virtues, as well as the fact that nature continues to flourish in spite of humanity's best attempts to destroy it.

The film comes to a climactic conclusion when Ceylan brings the indolent characters into contact with those forced to eke out an existence in harsh conditions. Nihal offers a financial gift to Hamdi's family; but fails to understand how such an act of apparent goodwill represents the ultimate insult. As Hamdi's brother İsmail (Nejat İsler) contends, it is nothing more than conscience money to atone for the fact that Aydın's family were responsible for causing İsmail's son Ilyas's (Emirhan Doruktutan's) pneumonia earlier on in the film. Meanwhile Aydın discovers to his cost that the local educator Levent (Nadir Sarıbacak) has a jaundiced view of all wealthy philanthropists.

Yet such experiences do not lead to any form of redemption. The film ends with Aydın and Nihal sitting morosely in their deserted hotel, looking out of the window at the snow-covered vista beyond, imprisoned by their lack of perception.

This film won the Palme d'Or at Cannes; it deserves every success. A modern classic.
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Turkish Cinema's attempt to make Ingmar Bergman Cinema is trapped in Overlong Narrative and Over-Intellectualism.
SAMTHEBESTEST26 November 2020
Winter Sleep (2014) : Brief Review -

Turkish Cinema's attempt to make Ingmar Bergman Cinema is trapped in Overlong Narrative and Over-Intellectualism. When i saw Bergman films i thought this man made a big fuss out of small small issue of life but some of films really impressed me. Most of the films sounded strange and impactless because of compassionate themes, regression analysis and sort of stuff. I personally never cared much about such stuff unless the characters were truly supportive and positively portrayed according to the concept. Winter Sleep is similar to what Bergman tried years ago in modern style. The film is about a former actor, now writer and a rich man Aydin, his wife Nihal who is much younger than him, his divorved sister Necla and little bit about a poor family living as tenants in Aydin's property. It depicts the tension between husband and wife whose relationship is soulless (god knows why are they still living together), brother and sister whose thinking are on opposition directions, and between landlord and tenants at some level. The narrative is 196 minutes long for no reason because it does not come to any conclusion. The main reason is non-cinematic vision which makes the dramatic values disappear at first place. The other reason is, a narrative trying to be too intellectual becomes dumb and non semse because overuse of intellectual thoughts always end up as fisco even in real life. One can never understand the intellectual and provoking theory shown in the main characters because one cannot live life like this. Like i said, the husband and wife having no bond, no feelings at all are still together for no reason, why? The sister is over realistic and she doesn't do a thing and then herself scream about feeling bored, really? The wealthy man having enough brain of his own asks these low IQ people for help? Seriously? Don't know what kind of sense these characters made to some audience and that too when it comes without any concrete conclusion. Now, coming to the pluses, the first one is of course dialogues writing. It has some real high score dialogues that might be relevant to some people and might even change their thinking. The second biggest plus point is natural acting of the cast. Third and the last is directorial efforts took by the director to bring conviction in this inconclusive storyline. Overall, a fine attempt i repeat, 'a fine attempt' (not a fine film) to show the innermost complications of people's lives. The last thing i wanna ask is, what the hell is this film doing in IMDb Top Rated list? There are many cult films which should have replaced it long ago.

RATING - 6/10*

By - #samthebestest
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A movie about what?
ersbel3 June 2015
I admit I have had high hopes for this one. I have like some of the stories of the Ceylan family. And I have appreciated the technical side of all their movies.

This one is slow. Much slower than the others. And, pretty much like the other successful European teams, the Ceylans have bigger and bigger budgets. Which have to be explained. This way you get a lot of outdoor scenes that have no value, including the first frames, and quite a few of driving scenes also with no value.

About an hour into the movie and I was wondering what am I doing in the room? I thought about asking my money back. But the power of "what if" was stronger. At the two hour mark my butt was hurting. And the story was getting worse.

In the end the best part of this movie is getting outside and being able to move.

So far, this is the worst Ceylans script. Almost every scene is explained after the action. You could guess some of the explanations, which makes the continuation of those particular scenes redundant. Other scenes remain cryptic, probably some Turkish custom badly explained.

All I am left after wasting three hours is a shapeless mash. Is it about religion? Religion pops into the story in a pointless way that might mean meaningful message. But there is no religion in the end. Is it about the Turkish folk? But the folk are badly represented. Is it about Turkish intelligentsia? But they are also badly represented. Is it about education in Turkey? About a brother and a sister? About a wife and her much older husband? At the three hour mark the film or hard drive runs out. You get a regular cast and crew list on screen. But is it really over? This is a movie about everything. It ends up about nothing. But that is enough to seduce some juries.

Contact me with Questions, Comments or Suggestions ryitfork @
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Funniest comedy in years. Wait, it's not a comedy?
Kdosda_Hegen24 October 2020
This film was as bland as life drama could get. Storyline is very slow paced and very simple. It takes 3h16min for 2 "main events" to happen. Most movies of over 3h show at least 5 "main events". In other words this is a wasted potential. The setting is interesting, but they really could've done a more interesting storyline. Yes, the acting is fantastic and there's tons of great philosophy in this film, but main plot is bland. On the other hand this film is full of jokes, it's very funny, so at least I wasn't bored.
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Suffocating Virtues
3xHCCH13 November 2014
Aydin (Haluk Bilginer) is a wealthy man, a former actor who now runs a hotel in Cappadocia. He also writes a column for the local newspaper, and is researching for his planned book about the history of Turkish theater. Nihal (Melisa Sözen) is his beautiful and much younger wife. Necla (Demet Akbag) is his divorced sister.

Also involved the family of Aydin's poor tenants who could not pay their rent for several months already. The friendly and gregarious Hamdi appeals for compassion, while his older brother, the impetuous jobless ex-con Ismail and his sullen young son Illyas, could not hide their contempt for their landlord.

This film is about the various conversations and confrontations between these people. These may begin as abstract debates about not resisting evil or boredom or donations, yet they all end up being very personal. There is no real plot, just a lot of seemingly random dialogue. Although, there are arguments that seemed endless and repetitive, these confrontations were eloquently written with very meaningful words for both sides of the issue. These long talky scenes were riveting despite their length and you hang on to every word they were saying. The performances of the actors of these flawed characters were faultless and so natural.

The cinematography of this film is so amazingly beautiful as it magically captured the unique topography of Cappadocia during the wintertime. There were several picture-perfect haunting scenes throughout, specially those about the Anatolian horse, the cemetery, the train tracks, the tree with the birds, the rabbit in the brush, the town, the hotel -- all covered with pristine snow. The close-ups of the actors were all so perfectly framed to achieve maximal drama. The use of mirrors to vary the camera shots were very good.

I admit that the 3-hour and 16-minute length of this film can be felt. However, you do not really mind this time running as you listen to intellectually-stimulating emotionally-rich conversation. This film is a masterpiece of world cinema by acclaimed Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan, truly worthy of its Palme d'Or during the Cannes Film Festival this summer. This should be a shoo-in to at least be nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film. 9/10.
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A masterful Steppe
shakercoola9 May 2018
A Turkish drama; A story about a former actor who runs a small hill hotel who has a tense relationship with his wife and his sister. When the weather closes in it causes them all to face each other. This is an absorbing, epic length story set in Cappadoccia, Turkey. Several themes swirl around the hilltop hotel: necessary evil, civic responsibility, shame, ambition, marital breakdown. What happens when a man's heart goes into hibernation. Director Nuri Ceylan is at his most powerful with his Chekhovian style script, and was rewarded with the Palme d'Or.
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An intellectual feast on a literary scale paired with stunning poetic cinematography.
Sergeant_Tibbs3 November 2014
Cannes seem to have a theme as of late for selecting 3 hour films for their coveted Palm d'or with Nuri Bilge Ceylan's latest and Blue Is The Warmest Colour. However, Winter Sleep's mammoth 196-minute length should not be solely be considered a challenge. In fact, it was perhaps the most leisurely viewing I had while at the festival outside of Whiplash. It's a warm character study, one that takes its time to burrow deeply into its topics. That's the notable personality of Winter Sleep for how it feels novelistic in its approach. It doesn't necessarily have more scenes than the average film, nor does it cover more time, instead it's full of extended dialogue driven scenes that stir gently and dig thoroughly to make their points. It's an intellectual feast on a literary scale.

The film details the winter of a middle-aged hotel owner Alydin, played by Haluk Bilginer, and his relationships with his recently divorced sister, his young wife, acquainted guests, his friends and employees, and the tenants of houses he owns. He's a former thespian of the theater and a minor celebrity, though he's currently working on a book about the history of Turkish theater while he runs the Anatolian village. He's both generous and egotistical, considered the king of his small kingdom, having ownership rights to most of the houses and shops in the town. Through ordeals with his wife's charity, his sister's misery and a family struggling to pay rent, he wrestles with the morality of his altruism, despite lack of activism, as those dependent on him only resent him in return

Written by Ceylan and his wife Ebru Ceylan, Winter Sleep does feature familiar archetypes of those with power and how they choose to use it. However, it spends time peeling back their layers and making them more human and conflicted characters. Scenes often take ten minutes to get their points, but it holds us with every articulate word. As a result, it has a very natural delivery of exposition, one delightfully deliberately crafted moreso than a taunt film. Plot threads are neither forced open nor closed. It's sprinkled with lyrical visual metaphors between the conversations that whilst obvious, they are very powerful, feeding into the character development. All the cast from top to bottom live in their character's skin in vivid detail, particularly from Bilginer and Melisa Sozen, who's vulnerable performance leaves the lasting impression of the supporting cast.

Like with his previous film Once Upon A Time In Anatolia, one of the best films of its year, it's visually stunning. It may not have the same bravura as the former with ambitious camera movements, but it's just as sharp and striking, though with a kinder and more intimate approach to its network of characters. Ceylan has a careful and poetic use of space, light and movement in the simple interior scenes and every frame expresses so much. But it's also grand from the wide expanses of the snowy Anatolian mountains and from the harshness of the cold outdoors to the warmth of the rooms, the atmosphere feels palpable and immersive. It definitely makes the length and pace easier, along with its endearing sense of humour.

However, it is hard to ignore that it feels like it panders to critics a little bit. There are too many unnecessary mentions of the craft and criticism of acting and writing. It feels extraneous to its main focuses. Unlike Once Upon A Time In Anatolia, which had fascinating ideas about the nature of truth and how we'll never know it, even if we witness events firsthand, Winter Sleep doesn't overtly have a universal point to make outside of its specificity to its characters and country, illustrating the divide between the powerful and powerless, but that's satisfying enough. It's a thoroughly engrossing, thoughtful and beautiful film and if the length doesn't intimate Academy voters too much, this is an easy frontrunner for the Foreign Language Film Oscar.


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valadas24 August 2020
With a splendid performing of all actors and actresses revealing successfully the difficult personalities of the main characters. And a landscape scenery that is combining very well with the dramatic plot. Aydin is an ex-actor and now a writer and a small hotle owner in a Turkish vilage. The story develops itself around the conflict he has with a tenant of another dwelling who stopped paying his rent and a greatly agitated one with his young wife. This latter relationship is shown by the dialogues and conversations they have and are performed with great psychological authenticity regarding their very different personalities and she accuses him of selfishness among other things. The characters speech is very rich in moral and psychological terms. It is passionate to follow their talk. Undoubtedly one of the best movies od 2014. But I hope there were no cruelty against animal scenes during filming. We suspect there were some with a horse in the river.
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Desolate & Bleak...
Xstal16 June 2020
... like the Anatolian weather, mimicking the lives of a businessman's younger wife, his sister and some defaulting tenants who live close by while he, in the fashion of middle aged men the world over, continues with his blinkered, unchanging view of life - but at what cost?
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Well worth the long journey
proud_luddite16 February 2019
In the Cappadocian region of Anatolia, Turkey, Aydin (Haluk Bilginer) is a retired actor who runs a mountaintop inn and owns many local properties that are rented. He is indifferent to the many who are less well-off than he. The film centres around his desires to write while dealing with crumbling relations with his much younger wife (Melisa Sozen) and his divorced sister (Demet Akgag) who lives with them (the inn was inherited as a family property).

At over three hours with no intermission, this film demands a lot from its audience especially as it is mostly dialogue. Luckily, director/co-writer (with Ebru Ceylan) Nuri Bilge Ceylan makes the best of this fine cast to make the long journey worthwhile.

There are three two-way conversations among the three main characters which are long and all of them reveal the depth and sadness of many human relationships.

There is also a subplot involving a poor extended family who are among Aydin's tenants. The storyline was the crux of the film's beginning but suddenly disappears until an heartbreaking encounter near the end.

Some reviewers have rightly compared this film to the better works of Ingmar Bergman. Bilginer, Sozen, and Akgag all do a great job in keeping the audience engaged especially during their long dialogue scenes. Also, the beautiful and unique formations of the mountains, some of which are made into homes and other building, are a sight to behold.
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Don't sleep through Winter
gizmomogwai10 April 2015
Warning: Spoilers
After waiting nearly a year, I was finally able to see the film that won Cannes in 2014, Winter Sleep, also the first film I've seen from Turkey. Winter Sleep is a sober, serious film, centering on Aydın, a wealthy hotel-owner and landlord, his much younger wife Nihal and his sister, Necla. Aydın's vehicle window is smashed by a young son of a tenant, furious over having their possessions confiscated for months of unpaid rent. The boy's uncle tries to patch things up, but Aydın is unimpressed with his tenants. Suffering from hard luck, they see Aydın as a tyrant, though he doesn't personally manage his properties.

Winter Sleep is overlong and slow but not really boring. The main drama is the emotional drama in Aydın arguing with Necla and Nihal, who both seem interested in breaking away from him. Necla picks at Aydın's writings as safe and presumptuous in dealing with topics Aydın doesn't know about; any writer will appreciate how that feels. Nihal is annoyed with him for meddling in her charity work late in the game. Then at the end, the tenants refusing Nihal's charity- indeed, throwing the equivalent of thousands of dollars in cash on the fire- is striking. This is a man insulted by charity from the "oppressor." I do feel a little sorry for Aydın- his sister and wife seem to do next to nothing, but are unappreciative of him, and he is unaware of some of the harsher acts done in his name.

I liked Winter Sleep; it's a solid film, not much to dislike. But I can't say I was wowed by it- I wasn't devastated by it, or particularly moved by it. Even though it won Cannes, I can still understand why it missed a nomination by the Academy, and why they showed their love to Ida (2013) instead.
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Rural tensions reflect current issues in Islam
maurice_yacowar7 March 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Nuri Ceylan's Winter Sleep explores the need to find values one can live by in the contemporary world free of religious trappings. Set and filmed in rural Turkey it represents the elemental pivot point between Islam and the West.

The film is essentially the anatomy of Aydin, a secular intellectual/artist/businessman, who pretends to conscience and morality as he judges (and oppresses) others but falls well short on both counts himself, frozen by his arrogance.

Aydin has retreated to run a small hotel which he keeps "natural," preferring muddy roads over gravel. His inherited property made him wealthy, a condition he also defends as "natural." He writes a weekly column in a small local paper, but won't venture into a major publication. When Aydin gets an email from a local teacher he summons his wife and neighbour to hear her adulation, under the pretence of asking their advice on responding to her request for financial help.

Ceylan makes Aydin admirable and sympathetic, then gradually exposes him. His vanity in reading that email is our first clue to his failings, as well as his alienation from his wife Nihal. At first a beautiful enigmatic phantom, she emerges as a repressed, young woman who has finally found self-realization in running a charity project.

Aydin spoils that by taking over her bookkeeping. He suspects the others of fraud and wants to preserve their family name. That, we later learn, he has already compromised when he turned earthquake victims away from his hotel in order to accommodate the paying members of relief agencies. His association, not Nihal's inexperience, would poison her project.

Aydin also tries to remove himself from what's happening around him. When a second- generation tenant falls into rental arrears, Aydin claims his assistant Hidayet and his lawyers do everything on their own. Aydin feels no responsibility for the cruelty a wild horse suffers when caught for him.

Aydin frees the horse when he leaves Nihal and sets out for Istanbul. He is jolted into self-awareness when he instead goes for a drunken evening and morning hunt with neighbour Suavi and schoolteacher Levent. Levent's babble confronts Aydin with his earthquake shame. The combination of brandy and guilt give the controlled and controlling Aydin his first breakdown. He vomits.

The next morning he shoots a rabbit and finds it, still quivering with last life. That breaks down the detachment he has maintained between himself and the abuses of nature he has ordered, whether toward animals or his tenants. He returns to beg Nihal to forgive and to stay with him. His catharsis awakens him from his winter sleep.

In a breakfast conversation Necla proposes to confront evil by submitting to it. She postulates that instead of resisting evil, thus further provoking its agent, by submitting to it one can perhaps arouse the malfeasant's conscience. She even considers asking her drunken ex-husband to forgive her for divorcing him, in hopes that might convert him to sobriety. "Islam," of course, means "submission," though that usually refers to Mohammad not to evil.

In addition to his secularity, the other Islamic cornerstones that Aydin violates are brotherhood and charity. Neighbour Suavi is literally what Aydin is metaphorically: a lonely isolate, who after his wife's death closed off several rooms and retreated to his living room stove. But Suavi has warm relationships with others, like the teacher, and he has actively joined Nihal's project.

Aydin's callous treatment of his suffering tenants and the earthquake incident prove his total lack of charity. When he gives Nihal a large donation it's to try to buy off her anger at his intrusion. Of course, he tells Suavi and Levent about his "anonymous" gift to bolster his image. His "charity" is disqualified by his self-interest.

When Nihal gives that money to the unfortunate tenants she turns his conscience money to effective use.That family is a microcosm of current Islam. The younger brother Hamdi is the local imam, who gives sermons and struggles on a small salary to support his jobless older brother Ishmael, his sister-in-law and nephew, and their aging, ailing and ungrateful mother. Despite their long tenancy, Aydin has allowed the family to be dunned by a collection agency, the police, and confiscators of their TV and other goods. Ishmael was humiliated by an assault in front of his family.

Hamdi serves the community with Koranic wisdom. But he can't mediate between the wealthy landlord and the violent rebel. Hamdi reluctantly accepts the money from Nihal, but Ishmael proves self-destructive in his sense of violated honor. Ishmael went to jail for stabbing a brute who stole his wife's underwear and then teased him. Now, as he recounts his various shame by Aydin, he rejects the money that would restore his family's honour and throws it in the fire.

"Ishmael," of course, was Hagar's son, the original Moslem banished from Abraham's family. The original Moslem here becomes the first radical. The Grade V boy Ilyas is an intensely resentful figure who stones the landlord's van, then falls into a faint and a fever when his imam uncle tries to get him to apologize to Aydin and kiss his imperious hand. If Ishmael's burning of the money evokes the self- destruction of the Islamic militant, son Ilyas represents the outer-directed destruction to come.
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