Winter Sleep

Winter Sleep ★★★★

Winter Sleep is a typically elegant and serious picture from Turkish auteur Nuri Bilge Ceylan. It has serious things to say about wealth, conceit, guilt, hubris and pride. Its locations are staggeringly beautiful, and the contrasts between dimly lit interiors and expansive landscapes are purposeful in contrasting macrocosmic and microcosmic viewpoints, and in establishing the isolation and claustrophobia these characters reside in. Again characteristically for Ceylan, it is a film of cumulative power and authority. It is confident and uncompromising film-making.

Yet - even by Ceylan's standards, the pace is severely protracted. There are lengthy passages of dialogue apparently inspired by Chekhov. Whilst these are gradually revealing of the characters' flaws and imperfections, they are also challenging. I'm not sure Winter Sleep truly needed 196 minutes to make its philosophical impact, as powerful as it undoubtedly is overall.