Winter Sleep (Nuri Bilge Ceylan – 2014) A

I really do not recommend watching this Turkish long film if you are tired or close to your bed time. This does not mean it is not good or I did not like it. On the contrary it is an effective beautiful moody play of sorts set in a remote cold Turkish village and centers around a wealthy hotel owner. It’s just mainly a series of long conversations with little plot in between and that gives it the feeling of a play. It does need focus and attention to keep up with the dialogue and get the most out of it. The man is Aydin who sees himself as an actor and writer. He has a controlling in a passive aggressive way relationship with his young wife Nihal. His sister also lives with them, she had a recent divorce and is generally resentful of Nihal and Aydin. We also meet some of Aydin’s tenants and those who owe him money or apologies. As the weather turns colder and the snow comes in people stay indoors, animosities come to the surface and conversations get more heated, more philosophical and fueled with alcohol… It sounds odd but it is tough to describe.

I am not sure if the script came first or this amazing location and architecture came first. Either way one really cannot be separated from the other. Ceylan does a great job filming this beautiful location and it’s various buildings and cave-like rooms. I saw this film in 3 “chunks” late in the evening and every time I could not wait to get back into this very real place, to see it again and listen in on what these people are talking about. In the end, we are left with a very deep understanding of who these people are and kept wondering what are they up to now.

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