Sunday, July 3, 2016


Legendary auteur and enfante terrible Michael Cimino has died.  He was seventy-seven.

Starting as a screenwriter, Cimino swiftly made his way up the ladder to Hollywood ascendance after his co-writing (with John Milius) of the Dirty Harry sequel Magnum Force led to his feature directorial debut, Thunderbolt & Lightfoot, starring Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges.  His second feature, the landmark Vietnam Era epic The Deer Hunter, won him the Oscars for Best Picture and Director.
A week later, Cimino began filming his follow-up epic, the Western drama Heaven’s Gate, the expense and box office failure of which would turn this “Michelangelo of cinema” into a Hollywood pariah.  If fellow directors like Friedkin and Coppola sank their careers with massively budgeted bombs likeSorcerer and One from the Heart, Cimino would be credited with nothing less than the bankrupting of United Artists studios.  Heaven’s Gate’s legendary production difficulties, at the expense of Cimino’s dictatorial demand for perfection, would effectively end the 70s era of “New Hollywood” directors allowed free reign to create visionary new masterworks.
Lambasted by critics, Heaven’s Gate is a “difficult”, elliptical, and very long film, obviously untrue to literal history, and also astonishingly beautiful in its pictorial splendor, breathtakingly elaborate pageantry, and profound melancholy.  It effectively bookends The Deer Hunter as a meditation on loyalty, the horror of violence, the spectral ravishment of Nature, the complexities of patriotism, and the devastating loss of friends and loved ones.
Read More:

No comments:

Post a Comment