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Winter Sleep

(Turkey, English subtitles). Ayden a former stage star who is wealthy and owns a hotel in Anatolia. He lives there with his sister Necla, who is divorced and has regrets about the dissolution of their marriage, and with his much younger wife Nihal. As winter approaches, the hotel customers become much sparser and the tensions among the three find new life. This is an amazing film. It is over 3 ½ hours in length, but it never feels that long, and it felt like it could have gone on longer. This is a dialog film, and patience is rewarded as the psychological workings of the three of them, individually and together, slowly reveal themselves as winter progresses. At the beginning of the film, a young boy, the son of a person Ayden’s agents were trying to evict, throws a rock at the window of the car he is driving, setting up a story in which the difference between the rich and poor serves as context. Rich and poor, young and old, realistic and idealist, educated and non-educated confront each other. The dialog is exceptional; a bit “heady”, but every extended scene focused on the dialog between characters is shot meticulously and filled with tension. The talk is mesmerizing – you are drawn in by these people and hang on their words. There are two scenes, one with Ayden and Nihal before Ayden departs for Istanbul and the one with Nihal and the father of the boy who threw the rock, which are just brilliantly executed. The latter scene was so intense that the shift to another conversation just sounded like “blah blah blah”. It was great. The acting is excellent, especially by actors playing Ayden and Nihal who are both brilliant. Big thumbs up from me for a film that was sparked by my liking of The Wild Pear Tree by the same director and whose other films I am going to watch as soon as I can. (2014; 5 Stars)

About Gary Burkholder

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