Over three hours long and set in a hotel in the snowy hills of Turkey, Winter Sleep sounds like the perfect movie to walk away with Cannes top prize. And so it did.
After snagging the FIPRESCI Critics Prize for best film on Friday, the film seemed poised to take the biggest haul from Cannes, making it the second-straight year in which a movie clocking in at about three hours won. Last year's winner, Blue Is the Warmest Colour turned heads in all ways imaginable after it garnered an NC-17 rating for its American release.
In addition to its length, Winter Sleep gained some attention from the message of its crew at Cannes, some of whom posed with #soma signs in the wake of the Turkish mining disaster earlier this month. Over 300 people were killed, sparking protests against the already enfeebled Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
On Saturday, director Nuri Bilge Ceylan dedicated the award to "the young people in Turkey and those who lost their lives in the last year."
But is it any good? Despite a few lukewarm reviews, the critics seem to give it the nod. So sayeth Richard Corliss of Time:
Given that the title virtually encourages viewers to nap during the proceedings, Winter Sleep is no chore to sit through. Most of its characters are complex and compelling, and the actors’ faces, craggy or lustrous, reward fascinated study. The movie indulges one frustrating narrative trope in too many Cannes contenders: the unexplained disappearance of a major figure more than halfway through the story, as with the Kristen Stewart character in Clouds of Sils Maria and the lawyer friend in Leviathan. But as austere soap opera or probing character study, Winter Sleep validates the viewer’s attention, if not its nearly 200-min. running time — make that ambling time.
Here is a full list of the Cannes winners.
Winter Sleep, dir: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Le Meraviglie (The Wonders), dir: Alice Rohrwacher
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
Jury Prize – Tie
Mommy, dir: Xavier Dolan
Goodbye To Language, dir: Jean-Luc Godard
Andrey Zvyagintsev, Oleg Negin, Leviathan
Julianne Moore, Maps To The Stars
Timothy Spall, Mr Turner
Party Girl, dirs: Marie Amachoukeli, Claire Burger, Samuel Theis
Leidi, dir: Simón Mesa Soto
Special Mention: Aïssa, dir: Clément Trehin-Lalanne
Ja Vi Elsker, dir: Hallvar Witzo