By Mónica Delgado
Winter Sleep is plagued by that bergmanian invention called “the hour of the wolf”. As if the conversations by half-light imply always a renounce and decisive revelations, the fall of the masks that invite change or imprisonment in the characters. This way, under the influence of this revelation, the Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan plans a great part of the more of three hours of his fifth film that narrates the seclusion in search of creation and inspiration by a frustrated old writer, that lives away from society like a monk, together with his young wife and sister in a poorly frequented hotel, in the middle of a stone desert in Anatolia.
Bilge Ceylan appropriates an inevitable Russian spirit by narrating from the sacred space of winter days, with its woods, stones and snow, and that evocates the necessity of the soul by its characters, but also in some themes treated in the dialogues about religiousness, compassion and morality, that follows a hint from Dostoievski’s Notes from Underground, in its existential dilemma and distancing. The snow and wind passage molds the climate of the situation, at candle light, and under the chimney fire, a fact that favours dialogues of different nature, and that show the lacks and possibilities of the protagonist beyond the actions, that are minimal.
A problem with a poor neighbor turns a key point in this brief initial illustration of the protagonist, a somewhat arrogant man, cynic and egocentric and principally rich in a town filled with necessities, to which he collects rent and other payments. Bilge Ceylan clings to this character (even through half an hour dialogues) and makes a portrait from the inside, from the medulla of his desires and divagations, as is revealed at the film opening, that opens the possibility of an internal and dark search, which is not easy at all. This relationship with his surroundings surfaces in the face of his wife and sister confessions, which help the protagonist to choose an affirmation of his solitude since the anticlimax.
The most interesting thing about this Bilge Ceylan film is his bet for a work narrated inside a dilated time and related to the expressiveness of the winter passage, also based in long but vigorous dialogues, where the protagonist and his two antagonists, his wife and sister, will elucidate the lack and search of the creative impulse. Is not only about a character with a sentimental crisis, quite the opposite, is the affirmation of maturity, as the certain shot at the time of hunting, or the compassionate gaze to the recently lost wife. This film is one of the favorites to rise with the Golden Palm (a prize long overdue for the Turkish filmmaker)
Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Script: Ebru Ceylan , Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Cast: Haluk Bilginer , Melisa Sözen , Demet Akbag