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Last Thursday I lived an extraordinary experience. You want to know why? I went to see the classic movie ‘’Heaven’s Gate’’ readapted. However, this is not exactly the reason why my evening will remain unforgettable. It was the presence of the famous director Michael Cimino that made my dreams come true.
Let me tell you a little story about this famous guy and about ‘’Heaven’s Gate’’.
After Cimino’s debut with “The Deer Hunter’’, a well-known movie, appreciated by many cinema lovers (it also won 5 Academy Awards), Cimino went on to make another movie, which he believed could not be less good than “The Deer Hunter’’. However, while shooting “Heaven’s Gate’’ the director encountered many problems. One of them was that the producers and the studio wanted to cut the movie because they considered it too lengthy. As a result, the screenplay lost its original brilliance and the film finally became a disaster. It earned less than $3 million domestically (from an estimated budget of $44 million). Cimino as well ass Kris Kristofferson’s (who played the leading character) careers experienced a setback. Some even considered the film to be
one of the worst movies ever made.
30 years later in 2012, Cimino, now 74 years old, decided to re-edit his movie. In a 216 minutes director’s cut, the film was re-introduced at the Venice film festival, the New York Film Festival and at the Festival Lumiere in France. The critics’ reaction to the new edition was overall positive. Some even went so far as to speak of the movie that ruined Cimino’s career 30 years before as a masterpiece. The 1980 cutting was characterized as “one of the greatest injustices of cinematic history”. I believe that, Cimino’s movie had always been a masterpiece. Unfortunately, nobody had recognized this.
The UGC-Distribution then decided to re-launch the movie in Paris. I immediately tried to get tickets and succeeded. As I entered the pictures I quickly realized that next to me were only cinephiles, which usually is a good sign. As soon as Cimino entered the room, everybody applauded and keenly listened to his short speech. He didn’t say anything particularly valuable and I believe he almost looked slightly intimidated. However, this old American didn’t fail to impress the entire audience (he looked like a real American).
The beginning of the film was exactly like I’ve imagined it would be. Nice Western music and beautiful landscapes. The cast is revealed bit by bit as the movie goes on. There is Kris Kristofferson in his very best age, Isabelle Huppert (with a sweet accent), a remarkably young Jeff Bridges and last but not least, Christopher Walken (already with no punctuation in his phrases).
Personally, I think this movie is magical. An old, well-interpreted narrative about immigration problems with no happy end (I love movies without happy endings, even though this has become fairly rare in today’s movie industry). 3 hours 30 minutes actually is a long time, but I was not bored for one minute of it.
Big Thanks to Megan! Who did everything to arrive on time! Love you