Heaven's Gate

Heaven's Gate

Pauline Kael's observation that Cimino "savors film" is brilliant, but I would reword it as to say that Cimino savors life. His films present a multifaceted, empathic view of reality that is so truly 3-dimensional and active that it is about as diametrically opposed to rigid narrative structure as I think a film possibly could be. Works that are labeled "realist" or "experimental" often times still limit their compassion to a core cast of characters, or attempt to place a story in a box so that its edges don't distract from "the point", or cut scenes as soon as the audience "gets it". Cimino does no such thing, and Heaven's Gate makes this as clear as ever.

There is a world in which Heaven's Gate would still be plenty excellent but definable. A movie that would warrant scholarly analysis about its left wing ideology and secretly brilliant systemic critique of American capitalism and classism. Amazingly, confoundingly, sometimes painfully, that is not the movie Cimino made, either. The movie he made, despite being unbelievably gorgeous and filled with romance and action in a way that would superficially appear to make it "likable", is nearly impossible to be enthralled with and even harder to be continually excited about. Genuine love and connection with this film will far sooner turn to hushed sadness than rapturous praise, and to me that speaks movingly, deeply, to the profundity of Cimino's art (and heart).

Rest in peace friend.

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