PRESS CONFERENCE – Nuri Bilge Ceylan: “If I can inject some feelings into people’s souls, then I have already succeeded”

Nuri Bilge Ceylan © FDC / CD

The arrival of the Winter Sleep team in the press conference room was met with warm applause. Nuri Bilge Ceylan took questions from journalists alongside his actors Haluk Bilginer, Demet Abag and Melisa Sözen. With them were the the producers, the director of photography and the co-writer. Extracts.

On the refined and powerful dialogue that Nuri Bilge Ceylan wrote with his wife, the film’s co-writer: “While we were working on the script, there were a lot of fights. We needed them: during these fights we were ten times more creative! In a conversation like today, I couldn’t have found the words for the film. When we argue, they come out.”

Demet Abag talking about filming the dialogues: “We worked for quite a long time in front of the camera. Sometimes exactly following the script, sometimes improvising. Nuri filmed us all the time. He had the choice and that left us lots of room for acting. It was a bit like being on stage.”

The actor Haluk Bilginer on the direction of the actors: « Nuri is a master of communicating with an actor. He has an incredible way of getting what he wants. Often directors are more interested in the mise en scène. Nuri Bilge Ceylan knows how to talk to actors, he knows an actor’s performance better than the actors themselves.”

The decor: an element that Bilge Ceylan wanted to evolve in the sam way as the characters: “I showed the first snow because the symbolism of change also had to appear in the atmosphere. There had to be some white, it was cold, as low as -10°C, it was good for the psychology.”


The place of reality in direction according to Nuri Bilge Ceylan: “The role of a director is different from that of a journalist. A director speaks to a spectator’s soul. If in my films I can inject some feelings into people’s souls, then I have already succeeded. And if they can learn to be ashamed of certain acts then that is also a success.”

Extracts gathered by Tarik Khaldi