Turkish Drama ‘Winter Sleep’ Wins Coveted Palme d’Or

Distinguished film director, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, has walked away with this years Palme d’Or award at the 67th annual Cannes Film Festival.

Winter Sleep, described as a ‘rich-character driven drama’ centred around ‘a self-obsessed Anatolian hotelier’ and the relationships with those around him, proved triumphant on Saturday, and saw Ceylan become only the second Turkish director to win the prestigious Palme d’Or.

Despite this marking the first time the director has won the award, Ceylan is certainly no stranger to success in Cannes, having previously won the Grand Prix award to two occasions, firstly for Distant back in 2002 and then Once Upon a Time in Anatolia in 2011. In 2008, Ceylan also walked away as Best Director for family drama Three Monkeys.

Taking to the stage to accept his award, Ceylan seemed genuinely taken aback by the recognition, “This is a great surprise for me”, he told the crowd, and the director was quick to pay tribute to the 100th anniversary of Turkish cinema, perhaps making his victory at Cannes ever more poignant.

With a running time of 196 minutes, which in this modern day of cinema may seem like a marathon, and with an abundance of dialogue, it’s no wonder the film divided critics after screening on the third day – but needless to say, the Turkish drama soon emerged an early favourite for the top award.

In an industry so heavily reliant on big-budgets, stellar casts, and mind-blowing special effects, it’s certainly a rarity to find a film-maker that sticks to his auteur roots – but perhaps that’s why the Cannes Film Festival is so important, as it reminds us of the untamed beauty that independent cinema brings to audiences around the world.