Adopt Films has acquired all U.S. rights to this year’s Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or winner, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Winter Sleep. The Turkish drama took the top prize despite its daunting 3-hour, 16-minute run time that even had jury president Jane Campion wondering if she’d need a bathroom break in the middle of the Palais premiere. “But it had such a beautiful rhythm and it just took me in,” Campion said at the post-awards press conference. “Actually I could have sat there for another two hours. It was all very Chekhovian. I could see myself in all of the characters.” Adopt plans a year-end 2014 U.S. release.
Despite the star wattage films that the Cannes Film Festival books annually — and this year was no exception, with such titles as the Kristen Stewart-Juliette Binoche film Sils Maria, Tommy Lee Jones’ The Homesman and the Robert Pattinson apocalyptic headliner The Rover — it’s a cinematic event that’s always at the forefront of lauding the artsier titles, no matter how popular they are with the masses or critics. Here’s a closer look at some of today’s winners in trailers and clips:
Palme d’Or Winner: Winter Sleep
Pete Hammond pointed out early in the festival that the Nuri Bilge Ceylan film from Turkey was this year’s longest sit at 3 hours and 16 minutes at the Palais Grand Theatre Lumiere. Film follows Aydin, a retired actor, who runs the Othello Hotel in central Anatolia. The snow begins to fall, and one could say that a cabin fever ensues for Aydin who tends to a stormy relationship with his wife and arguments about rich vs. poor with his recently divorced sister. Memento Films is handling foreign sales.
It’s all over but the re-runs. The 67th Cannes Film Festival unofficially ended Saturday night with the crowning of Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s endless, but admired, Chekovian epic Winter Sleep being crowned with the coveted Palme d’Or. Because French elections fall on Monday the festival decided to end the key competition a day early and leave Sunday to repeats of movies shown earlier, just as they did on Saturday where fortunately I was able to catch up with Winter Sleep just so I would be prepared for its big victory. At 3 hours and 16 minutes it was easily the longest movie in the competition and still managed to prove, just as the three-hour Blue Is The Warmest Color did last year, that length doesn’t matter when it comes to impressing juries. At the post – press conference Jury President Jane Campion said she was worried initially. “I was scared when I looked at the running time and it said three hours and fifteen minutes. I thought I might need a toilet break. But it had such a beautiful rhythm and it just took me in. Actually I could have sit there for another two hours. It was all very Chekhovian. I could see myself in all of the characters,” she said. Another two hours? Don’t encourage him, Jane. Turkish arthouse fave Ceylan has been coming to Cannes for an ego boost for years and …
UPDATE 11:24 AM PT: Before my colleague Pete Hammond weighs in with his analysis of tonight’s winners and comments from the jury, here’s a little bit about what went down at the prize ceremony. There were several emotional moments with Master of Ceremonies Lambert Wilson kicking things off by saying, “The best things have an end. Not films.” He introduced outgoing Cannes Film Festival president Gilles Jacob, who is leaving the organization after joining in 1977. In a fitting turn in his last official capacity, he awarded the Camera d’Or for best first feature and received a standing ovation on his way onto the stage, and as he exited. There were not a lot of dry eyes for the rest of the running, as Best Actor Timothy Spall fought back his own tears, and Xavier Dolan, the enfant terrible of Canadian cinema, accepted his shared Jury Prize for Mommy. This was his first film in the main competition after first coming to Cannes in 2009 with I Killed My Mother in Directors’ Fortnight at the ripe young age of 20. He particularly thanked jury president Jane Campion, telling her that The Piano helped to define his career. There were some surprises, and some films that we expected would win statues. Pete will tell you more in just a bit.