The director of “Once Upon A Time In Anatolia” brings us once again a film in which the beauty of the natural landscapes of Anatolia is an important character in the plot. “Winter Sleep” portrays the vast differences between the rich and lower classes in Turkey and how even the best intentions are sometimes rewarded with ungratefulness and contempt.
Aydin, a former actor turned hotel manager, who is also very wealthy due to property and money he has inherited from his father, runs a hotel in the mountains of Anatolia. Mr. Aydin also writes a column for the local newspaper, and is planning to write a book on Turkish theater. In the beginning of the film, with the presence of seasonal tourists everything seems idyllic and peaceful inside the household. As the winter creeps in and guests start leaving, the tensions begin to climb and the reality of Aydin’s relationships with his sister and his very young wife start to become evident.
Coupled with long conversations between the different characters which gives the film a distinctive realism, naturalism in ‘Winter Sleep” creates another diegesis within the story. In a particular scene, a wild horse is trapped and dunked in a river to wear him out and make him more docile for transport and domestication. As the horse struggles to breathe after being tugged by ropes and sunk into freezing waters, we realize the cruelty of man as it exerts its domination over all creatures that were born to be free. Aydin also dominates the people around him, his tenants, his employees, and even his sister and wife , not only with his wealth but also his condescension, under an aura of self- involved detachment from other people’s struggles to survive.
The winner of the Palme D’ Or at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, “Winter Sleep” is an amazing cinematic achievement, where family, love, relationships, and social injustice are explored under the unexpected scope of a naturalist lens. This film will be released for the general public in December 2014, but was shown in Cannes and Turkey, as well as in several other film festivals earlier this year.