Thursday, May 01, 2014

2014 Cannes Check #1: Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Series Intro

Today feel like starting a short series about the directors and their films in the Cannes 2014 official selection. Just to check some facts we have to consider that in the competition there are directors that already won one or two Palme d'Or as well as winning Jury Prize, Grand Prix, Best Director, Camera d'Or and yes, even Best Actor.

Then you have the directors that for the first time are in competition but already won multiple awards at collateral sections including Un Certain Regard, Quinzaine des réalisateurs and/or Semaine de la Critique. So we can say that most are Croisette connoisseurs as only two directors are new to the competition and to Cannes.

To start the series let's talk about one favorite directors, one I follow his career, admire him from afar, like some movies more than others and have seen all his work up to this moment: Nuri Bilge Ceylan.

Nuri Bilge Ceylan

In Cannes for the sixth time, he already won the Grand Prix (2011 and 2003) plus Best Director (2008). The first time in Cannes was in 1995 with his first film, Koza (Cocoon), a short film that was in competition; his latest movie is Kış Uykusu (Winter Sleep) is in competition for the 2014 Palme d'Or.

Born in Bakırköy, Istanbul on 26 January 1959. A world renown director and photographer with only eight (8) films that tell about his masterful use of images, silences and unusual storytelling style. I simply love Distant, Climates and Once Upon a Time in Anatolia -all three have reviews here- and accordingly to the recent released Winter Sleep images I believe that film will be visually stunning as he filmed again in Anatolia but this time in striking Cappadocia during wintertime.

Believe that his movies are not for all audiences but if you can appreciate stunning visuals that usually move very slowly or don't move at all (magnificent very long takes) with a story told with very few words -long silences-, lots of actors face/body expressions and intriguing everyday people situations, then perhaps you will be able to see his "very long" films, as for example, Once upon a time in Anatolia is 150 minutes long and Winter Sleep is even longer with196 minutes long. To me movie-length is not enough as always when his movies are over I want more.

Nuri Bilge Ceylan has not yet won the Palm d'Or and in my opinion is about time that he wins one, but wonder if the eclectic jury will give him the award as most of the jury members that are directors, are NOT visually-oriented in their films.  Still, up to yesterday odds sites, the betting community are giving to this movie the best odds, predicting that could be the top award winner.

If you wish to learn more about this excellent director please go to his official site here and strongly suggest to check his breathtaking photography galleries as will allow you to understand one of the reasons why his films are visually stunning, he has an extremely interesting eye, perspective and composition as his photos clearly tell how he sees his world, his surroundings and in my opinion, he almost perfectly translates what and how he sees things to his movies.

Basic info about Kış Uykusu (Winter Sleep)
Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Scriptwriter: Nuri Bilge Ceyland and Ebru Ceylan
Language: Turkish
Production countries: Turkey, Germany and France
Production companies: NBC Film, Bredok Film Production, Memento Films International, Zeyno Film.

Plot Summary
Aydin, a retired comedian, owns a small hotel in central Anatolia with his young wife Nihal and his sister Necla, who is coping with her recent divorce. During the winter, snow covers the ground and boredom brings the return of old memories, pushing Aydin to flee…

Some magnificent stills from Winter Sleep.

The trailer

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