Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

On the red carpet at Winter Sleep

We join the elite for the premiere of Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s latest.

Fri, May 16, 2014, 18:46


Every now and then, the poor bloody infantry gets to attend one of the red carpet screenings that you see on the telly. This is not altogether a good thing. By definition, dedicated press screenings welcome only those who are scribbling about the relevant film. ¬†When we are required to attend one of these gala things, we fight for space on the balcony while the poshies occupy the spaces below. It’s a bit like the Titanic in reverse (and not just just because the Palais des Festivals looks a little like a cruise ship). We’re all up at the top in steerage while, down below, the celebrities throng in their evening wear.

Anyway, its gives one a chance to get a taste of how the other half enjoys the Cannes experience. As you can see, we watch them arrive on a big screen for while fighting over perches in the crow’s nest.

Winter Sleep received a proper standing ovation and, though some of that may have been triggered by relief at enduring three hours and 15 minutes of sombre cinema, the applause was definitely justified. Following on from Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, Ceylan’s new film is a character study of unrelenting rigour.¬†Haluk Bilginer stars as a an actor now retired to a remote hotel where he writes pompous columns for the local paper and bickers with his largely long-suffering family. Not packed with incident, the film works cumulatively as it throws a series of lengthy conversations at us and powers us towards some sort of crisis. A few critics have mentioned Chekov when reviewing it. That seems fair enough. Though that Russian playwright would surely have allowed a gun to be fired or some sort of forest to be felled.

Keep your eyes on the main site for our full review.

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