Image via Adopt Films
Winter Sleep often invites us to peer through windows toward the lives outside. Aydin, who owns a hotel carved into an Anatolian mountainside—and all the surrounding land—provides the perspective, his authority having provided a life of delusional self-satisfaction. At least until Aydin is driving past his tenant’s house one day—they’re late on rent, and have had the repo man sicced on them—when a boy hurls a stone at the car and cracks one of the windows.
Writer/director Nuri Bilge Ceylan has long harbored an interest in links between people and the places they inhabit. In this case, he’s considering how men like Aydin would rather stack cash than act humanely. That shattered window is a challenged perspective, and from there the film follows conversations that sort everything out: Aydin condescendingly speaking to the family about reparations, or to his wife about the act’s ethical implications. Naturally, power dynamics quickly become apparent: the poorer characters don’t speak to superiors unless without prefacing their comments with ingratiating compliments, while an apparent social hierarchy emerges from the verbal duels. Through it all, Aydin is perpetually on top—less a friend than a feudal leader.
During Winter‘s 196 minutes, we become intimate with the geography of the film: paths leading to Aydin’s dwellings; roads to the homes he owns; barren fields that circle his hotel. That last building is up on high—looming above the rest as if on holy ground. In Ceylan’s world, even the land avoids paying attention to the lower classes.
WINTER SLEEP. FRI 5.22—WED 6.3. MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS. $9-11. NOT RATED.