The 67th Cannes Film Festival came to a close Saturday night, with Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s three-hour-plus Turkish drama Winter Sleep taking home the top Palme d’Or prize.
Revolving around a wealthy rural hotel owner and his complicated relationships with his wife and sister, the film is a visually assured, fitfully spellbinding work that to my eye never achieves the grandeur it seems to be aiming for. Ceylan (who won the second-place Grand Prize here in 2011 for his magisterial Once Upon a Time in Anatolia) dedicated his award to the young people of Turkey, “especially those who lost their lives” in the civil unrest that continues to grip the country.
The choice of Winter Sleep, the second Turkish film to snag the Palme d’Or (the first was Yol in 1982), drew modest applause from the press, but nothing close to the thunderous cheers that greeted last year’s winner, Abdellatif Kechiche’s Blue is the Warmest Color.
The same was true for the other picks announced by jury president Jane Campion. The Grand Prize was handed to young Italian filmmaker Alice Rohrwacher (one of two women in competition), for her lovely coming-of-age film The Wonders. The story of a family of honey farmers and, especially, the quiet desires and resentments of the preteen protagonist, the movie has a refreshingly delicate touch, but feels a bit small for the honor it was granted.
The third-place Jury Prize was a bit more exciting: a tie between the youngest and oldest filmmakers in competition, Xavier Dolan and Jean-Luc Godard. Godard, predictably, was not present to accept the award—his first-ever at Cannes—for his exuberant 3D experiment Goodbye to Language. Dolan, whose ferocious, moving mother-son dramedy Mommy had been considered a top contender for the Palme d’Or, paid tearful tribute to Campion, singling out her film The Piano (itself a Palme d’Or winner in 1993) as particularly inspiring.