Turkish drama ‘Winter Sleep’ wins Cannes top prize

Kış Uykusu (Winter Sleep)

The 67th Cannes Film Festival came to a close Saturday night, with Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s three-hour-plus Turkish drama “Winter Sleep” taking home the top Palme d’Or prize.
Revolving around a wealthy rural hotel owner and his complicated relationships with his wife and sister, the film is a visually assured, fitfully spellbinding work that never achieves the grandeur it seems to be aiming for. Ceylan (who won the second-place Grand Prize here in 2011 for his magisterial “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia”) dedicated his award to the young people of Turkey, “especially those who lost their lives” in the civil unrest that continues to grip the country.

The choice of “Winter Sleep”, the second Turkish film to snag the Palme d’Or (the first was “Yol” in 1982), drew modest applause from the press, but nothing close to the thunderous cheers that greeted last year’s winner, Abdellatif Kechiche’s “Blue is the Warmest Colour”.

The same was true for the other picks announced by jury president Jane Campion. The Grand Prize was handed to young Italian filmmaker Alice Rohrwacher (one of two women in competition), for her lovely coming-of-age film “The Wonders”. The story of a family of honey farmers and, especially, the quiet desires and resentments of the pre-teen protagonist, the movie has a refreshingly delicate touch, but feels a bit small for the honour it was granted.


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