Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s film, Winter’s Sleep, is set in a village in Cappadoccia. Aydin (Haluk Bilginer) is a hotel owner and also a landlord for many of the people in the town. He lives with his young wife, Nihul (Melisa Sözen), and with his sister, Necla (Demet Akbağ). During the course of the film, Aydin gradually becomes aware that many of the people in the town dislike him. He also learns that Nihul and Necla are both unhappy with him.
Winter’s Sleep is about how wealthy people are often unaware of how their actions look to other people or even how these actions affect other people. Aydin writes a newspaper column, in which he makes high-minded pronouncements about how people should behave. Yet when one of his tenants falls behind on his rent, Aydin sends men to take his TV as payment, and they beat up the man when he tries to resist them. Aydin thinks of himself as a generous person, but at times he reveals contempt and mistrust towards the townspeople. When, for example, Nihul forms a charitable group, Aydin worries that they might try to swindle her. Aydin’s wealth creates both a material and a psychological gulf between him and other people.
There are long scenes in this film of Aydin talking to Nihul or to Necla. These scenes may test some people’s patience. (They tested mine.) However, if you stick with this film, it is ultimately rewarding. Ceylan is similar to Chekhov in that he is interested in people who feel unfulfilled in their lives.