“Winter Sleep,” the great Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s mesmerizing fifteen-years-in-conception Cannes Palme d’Or-winning chamber epic doesn’t waste a breath in its 196 minutes. Ceylan (“Once Upon A Time In Anatolia,” “Climates”) is as loving in painting panoramas of the Turkish landscape as in detailing the contours of the intense psychology of its characters. Aydin, an hotelier in the ruggedly beautiful central Anatolian region of Cappadocia, has a dissatisfied younger wife, and his sister is staying with them after a divorce. Winter arrives. Shelter is tenuous, the landscape demanding, conversations ensue, persist, roll on with the beautiful power of an ancient stream. While he won’t identify which ones, Ceylan says he drew upon three short stories by Anton Chekhov. The engrossing yet endlessly mysterious result, co-written with his wife, Ebru (“Climates”) is one of 2014’s best, generous to a fault, or more appropriately, to apportioning drama among the faults of all its characters. Ceylan’s usual cinematographer, Gokhan Tiryaki, fixes on landscape in interiors as well as exteriors: he and Ceylan are patient poets of the human face. 196m. Widescreen. (Ray Pride)
“Winter Sleep” opens January 2, 2015 at the Music Box. The trailer is below.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor of Filmmaker magazine. He is also a photographer: his history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images is forthcoming; previews on Twitter (twitter.com/chighostsigns) as well as daily photography on Instagram: instagram.com/raypride. Twitter: twitter.com/rayPride. (Photo: Jorge Colombo.)