my review: winter sleep

i watched a wonderful film last night: ‘winter sleep’ by nuri bilge ceylan, one of my favorite directors. it’s 3 hours long but one doesn’t get bored for a second. there are so many unforgettable scenes with uncontrived yet constantly engaging talk, their intimacy and small, fleshed-out details contrasted with the vastness and breathtaking beauty of snow-covered cappadocia, a region where houses are carved into rock.

the cinematography is gorgeous, as always (watch ‘once upon a time in anatolia’), the acting seamless. as justin chang said in his excellent review: ‘the supreme visual achievement of “winter sleep” may well be the beauty it finds in the crags and contours of its actors’ marvelously expressive faces.’

ceylan is a genius. the subtlety with which he paints places and people, the way he lights a room, the easy exchange between characters where the difference in their social status or the years of conflict and bitterness between them begin to surface ever so gently.

he co-wrote the script with his wife ebru ceylan. it’s a character study inspired by chekhov’s short story, “the wife’” and one of the subplots in dostoyevsky’s “the brothers karamazov”. justin chang: ‘what’s remarkable is the manner in which the script steers away from run-of-the-mill plot mechanics in favor of a more revealing and no less absorbing immersion in the conversations — long, glorious, generously overflowing, superbly sculpted and acted conversations’.

and then there’s schubert’s piano sonata no. 20, the only music played in the film, just a few times. perfection. it fills one with muted sadness and seemed to connect back to something. so i researched. one of the reviews mentioned it was a nod to bresson’s ‘au hasard balthazar,’ one of the saddest and most beautiful films i’ve ever seen.

a masterclass in filmmaking.

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