Winner of the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes, Winter Sleep is the new film from Turkish master Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Three Monkeys, Uzak, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia).
Typically bold and beautiful, it’s about Aydin (Bilginer), a wealthy, retired actor who runs a small hotel – House Othello, in a nod to his former stage career – in a remote mountain village in central Anatolia, and the inescapable pressures the isolated landscape puts on his marriage.
He’s a fixture of the community with many interests – including writing for the local paper and researching a book on the Turkish theatre, in addition to various business concerns – and rules over it with what he considers benevolence, but others possibly don’t; evidenced initially by a local boy smashing his car window with a rock. Meanwhile his beautiful young wife Nihal (Sözen) is contemplating the state of their marriage, and winter is setting in; with tensions palpably rising, Aydin’s fortunes are suddenly in flux.
Mesmeric, exquisitely framed, emotionally and intellectually resonant, Winter Sleep shows Ceylan in supremely confident form.