The weekend press screening of Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Winter Sleep was one of the hottest tickets of the festival -- so hot that, even though I arrived in what should have been plenty of time, I was shut out. Ceylan is a favorite here -- his meditative 2011 drama Once Upon a Time in Anatolia was a co-winner of the Grand Prix that year, and even if his particularly deliberate brand of filmmaking isn't quite to your taste, his pictures always deserve a look, if only because his visual sense is acute and exquisite. But even though Winter Sleep -- a drama, inspired by Chekhov, about an unhappy marriage between a misanthropic writer (Haluk Bilginer) and his much younger, and intensely frustrated, wife (Melisa Sozen) -- has been adored by many critics here, its charms somehow slipped away from me in the course of its three-plus hours. As always with Ceylan, the movie is beautifully filmed, capturing the jagged patchwork beauty of the rural Anatolian landscape in a way that also defines the characters' place in it. And there's always tenderness in Ceylan's filmmaking: He has a great deal of affection for his characters.


Subscribe to the Voice Film Club podcast

But the movie is loquacious to a fault, using many, many words and all too many searching, penetrating looks in the service of the following formula: Characters' faults come crashing to the shore in mighty waves, only to recede, leaving their pure and wondrous humanity behind. It doesn't take long for us to get the drift. Chekhov did it better, and shorter.

« Previous Page

Now Showing

Find capsule reviews, showtimes & tickets for all films in town.

Box Office Report

Join My Voice Nation for free stuff, film info & more!