Saturday, 20 December 2014


If Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Winter Sleep leaves little opportunity for interpretation, it does not deny its viewer opportunities to derive from it a subjective experience. Should you choose, at almost any point, to allow for a lapse in focus, your understanding of his lengthy, largely hypothetical discussions, could be altered momentously. That's a flattering way of putting the fact that Winter Sleep is dense and draining, but such is the insight of Nuri and Ebru Ceylan's prose, and such is its pervasiveness through this long film that its artistic and philosophical merit are undeniable. Philosophically, in particular, Winter Sleep is a work of great significance - it is appropriate, then, that it should not operate as a work of show-stopping immediacy but as one whose value may only be discernible decades from now. Ceylan delves deep into the minds of his characters, deeper than necessary, perhaps, to dank little crevices therein, exposing thoughts and emotions that make for fascinating analysis, if one can surrender oneself to the process of gravely intellectual pontification for three hours (it takes that long, to be fair, and the intricate subtleties of Ceylan's filmmaking never let the pacing sag). They end up revealing a lot more about themselves than anyone else might ever care to know, and are considerably more interesting in so doing when revealing details about one another and refraining from excessive self-analysis, though we're never in doubt as to the reasons propelling their actions. The film may have benefitted from a sense of reason behind quite why they choose to burden themselves with these issues - it only makes sense from Ceylan's perspective, in the creation of a text whose purpose is to provide illumination on the rugged landscape of the mind, as complex and as foreboding as his beloved rural vistas, if a lot less equipped to embrace the viewer in what beauty they may uncover within.