Winter Sleep, a late review about a great movie

Last year I was invited to see a movie during the Viennale 2014, it was planned as a surprise for me and it kinda worked! 🙂 Honestly I expected and very much hoped to see this movie.

It was a movie I was very much interested in seeing, due to the fact that the story sounded interesting and the buzz the media made during the Cannes Festival in 2014 was great. It received a great deal of compliments from critics and the audience.

On this evening, we entered the theatre, the so-called Gartenbaukino, quite a nice place, which is the main Cinema during the Viennale. It was filled with people who seemed to share the same curiosity.

The story itself centers about a landlord, a writer, an intellectual named Aydn, living in a village in the center of Turkey. He is a respected and also a feared man, respected from those who befriend him and share the same wealth and feared from those who have to live under his generosity, due to the situation that he owns their houses or gives them jobs. We see him wandering around in the early morning on a misty day, he arrives in his hotel and talks to some residents and seems eager to find out more about their lifes and their whereabouts. Afterwards he travels through the village and its surroundings and we learn about his wife, his sister and how he treats the people who make business with him. 

During the movie we learn more about his complex character, it is far away from a one-sided picture of a man. We see that he is confronted with many different situations during the story and how he reacts.

– While travelling his car gets attacked by a little boy, whose father came back from prison and is not able to find a proper job and therefore cannot provide enough money to pay the rent. The uncle of this boy tries it’s best to intervene and find a way to help by visiting the landlord on a regular basis, being a suppliant for the needs of his family.

– His (quite younger) wife keeps a small but recognizeable distance to him, living under a different roof, in another part of the hotel. She organizes together with a teacher and some friends regular meetings with the aim to collect money to help poor people. When Aydn begins to show more interest in her work a crisis starts between them.

– His sister, spending her time reading magazines, listening to music and discussing with her brother about things that happened in their past. They seem to have their discussions happening in the evening hours when he is writing articles for a regional newspaper. There we learn many things about his relationship with his family and his past as an actor and his work as a writer. 

One of the strengths of this movie is that the director / author managed to give the other characters enough room to have essential dialogues and monologues, too. We learn during the interaction how life works in this area, how the people have to manage their life during the day.  

There are a lot of peacuful moments during the movie, very often accompanied by shots of the impressive landscape. As mentioned above the movie plays in the center of Turkey and the director clearly loves this region. We get the chance to see the village in its beauty, the hills and the meadows. The story is told for a couple of months, beginning in autumn and ending in winter time, therefore we also see changes within this beautiful landscape. It was amazingly shot and made me wanna go there the minute I saw it on the big screen.

The Director and the whole team completely earned the prize, the international recognitoon, especially all the praises very well. The whole time I felt entertained, including some moments where I felt amazed from the well crafted dialogues, the shots of the region and the characters that were shown. I am planning to find some more movies, which were directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, who became famous before with movies like ‘Once upon a time in Anatolia’.

6 thoughts on “Winter Sleep, a late review about a great movie

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