Winter Sleep

196 minutes 2014

This compelling psychodrama by Turkish writer-director Nuri Bilge Ceylan contains relatively few of the landscape shots that have become his artistic signature, but this may be his most epic film in terms of narrative design. It charts the slow emotional breakdown of an arrogant actor who has retired to a small mountain town with his divorced sister and his much younger wife. He regards himself as a bastion of high culture, but his noble self-image is hardly borne out by his callous behavior toward the poor family who live on his property. Ceylan presents psychology much as he presented exteriors in his earlier films—as intricate, monumental, and mysterious—and the lengthy, confessional dialogue scenes generate an uncanny vibe. That dissipates in the last hour when Ceylan starts dictating exactly how one should feel about the characters; but until then this is masterfully staged and performed. In Turkish with subtitles.

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Winter Sleep

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