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Author Topic: Michael Cimino (1939 - 2016)  (Read 4796 times)
Rojo Ramone
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« Reply #30 on: July 11, 2016, 02:06:27 PM »

Wow - finally here is someone who actually gets Cimino:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-dissent-on-michael-cimino-1467840468

I have a few minorquibbles with this article.
First is with this.
"Seen today, however, the film impresses one less for its insights into war or its acting than for the painstaking visual design used in depicting assorted locales and terrains, including a grand Russian Orthodox church, a fog-filled mountain range and the green, soggy depths of Vietnam."

I disagree that the visuals impress one most.
Of course this is subjective but for me it's the story and the performances given by the actors.
For me this film perfectly captures the 60's sobering of the "all you need is love" generation.
Sort of a 60's BIG CHILL MASSACRE.
I love how the tragedy effects everyone differently.
It's exactly like a real death in a family where some step up and others fall apart.

And then there's...
"Above all, Mr. Cimino’s films were the very opposite of “photographs of people talking”—to borrow Alfred Hitchcock’s pejorative description of films he deemed insufficiently cinematic."

Now I know he's arguing the fact that Cimino was no "one hit wonder" but this does give the impression people like Leone and Scorsese didn't paint or roam with a camera before him.

"One hit wonder" should never be used for someone with the talent of Cimino.
Who gives a crap on what's successful to others anyway?

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« Reply #31 on: July 12, 2016, 09:07:05 PM »

I've read quite a few interviews by french media (while he had absolutely nothing "new" coming up) over the past years so he may have been around. If you can read in French, here is an interesting one that really shows how lost the guy was: http://www.sofilm.fr/interview-le-mythe-michael-cimino
Between his lies and his mislead theories, I don't think a single word from this article is right.

It's not that crazy an article is it? What specifically did you have issue with?

But wasn't he living in France for the past 20 - 30 years?

I think he was. A while ago, I bought this book (essentially an extended interview) that was only published in French:

https://www.amazon.fr/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?__mk_fr_FR=%C3%85M%C3%85%C5%BD%C3%95%C3%91&url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=michael+cimino+thoret

I've also been meaning to buy this one for a while:

https://www.amazon.fr/gp/product/2070313158/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_4?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A1X6FK5RDHNB96

He also apparently published a novel in French too:

https://www.amazon.fr/Big-Jane-Michael-Cimino/dp/2070417603/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1468378283&sr=1-3&keywords=michael+cimino

I think he got a lot of respect from people in France as a major artist / auteur. Given how the industry in his own country treated him, I'm not surprised he chose to move to France - I mean, everyone likes to have their ego stroked.

I disagree that the visuals impress one most.

Maybe so, but the visuals sure do make a huge impression.

And then there's...
"Above all, Mr. Cimino’s films were the very opposite of “photographs of people talking”—to borrow Alfred Hitchcock’s pejorative description of films he deemed insufficiently cinematic."

Now I know he's arguing the fact that Cimino was no "one hit wonder" but this does give the impression people like Leone and Scorsese didn't paint or roam with a camera before him.

I think it is rather saying just how visually talented Cimino was that he should be mentioned in the same breath as Leone rather than being treated as some irresponsible clown who got lucky once.

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« Reply #32 on: July 13, 2016, 01:11:43 PM »

I did imply I was nit-picking. Smiley


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« Reply #33 on: July 13, 2016, 09:16:04 PM »

Talented directors whose careers were defined by a film and then derailed by another film:

Michael Cimino: defined by "The Deer Hunter"; derailed by "Heaven's Gate"

Alex Cox: defined by "Repo Man"; derailed by "Walker"

Hugh Hudson: defined by "Chariots of Fire", derailed by "Revolution"



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« Reply #34 on: July 13, 2016, 10:12:57 PM »

Talented directors whose careers were defined by a film and then derailed by another film:

Michael Cimino: defined by "The Deer Hunter"; derailed by "Heaven's Gate"

Alex Cox: defined by "Repo Man"; derailed by "Walker"

Hugh Hudson: defined by "Chariots of Fire", derailed by "Revolution"





Chariots of Fire was such an overrated movie. Ditto for the music. Ugh actor Ben Cross is such crap. How could this ever be considered a great movie?Huh??

I am not denying that the guy's career was defined by that movie. Just saying it's not a great thing to be defined by. Judging it on its own, whatever, it's a halfway alright movie. I think I gave it a 6.5/10 (just below my mark for a "good movie.") But because of how overrated it is, I just roll my eyes whenever I think of it.

Okay, we know that racism is bad, it hurts to be discriminated against and it's good for a person to stand up for what he believes in. In real life, wonderful. But not a very interesting movie topic. As we've discussed on these boards, the good guy fighting the injustice of a system is just not a great movie topic. It's why I am not excited about the upcoming movie LOVING, about the mixes-race couple who successfully petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn Virginia's ban on miscegenation in 1967. Incredible to think howvrecent 1967 was. Incredibly wrong for a gov't to make it a crime for a white person to cohabit with a black person. But the Good Guy Fighting Against An Unjust System, I just don't think that makes for a very good movie topic. And did I mention that Ben Cross, the actor who plays the Jew in Chariots of Fire (yes, a guy named Cross plays the Jew) is such an awful actor? And did I mention that Chariots of Fire is soooo overrated? And did I mention that a woman at work has that song as her cellphone ringtone, and makes me NUTS when her phone rings every ten minutes?

p.s. People should not be allowed to use ringtones in public. Just the classic ring. Ringtones for any song get annoying, no matter how good or bad the song is.

Oh, and did I mention, the dvd bonus features for Chariots of Fire has interviews with the director and composer, and they go on and on about how great the movie is and how great and groundbreaking the music is, respectively, and it just turned me off of the movie even more? And btw, the composer says he was the first to use the digital music or whatever it is that he uses, the keyboard or whatever, and then everyone copied him. But is he even correct about that? Didn't John Carpenter (of OUATITW commentary fame!) use it 5 years earlier in ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13? (Another overrated movie and overrated score)


Anyway, yeah, The Deer Hunter was a damn great movie  Wink

« Last Edit: July 14, 2016, 09:22:53 PM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #35 on: July 14, 2016, 08:36:08 PM »

Chariots of Fire was such an overrated movie...

Technically "Revolution" is the superior film and, much like "Heaven's Gate", released at the wrong time to find an audience in the United States. Ironically one of the most technically brilliant scenes is not found in the director's cut because it involves a horribly corny Hollywood ending that was apparently forced on Hudson who then went and shot it like it was one of the most important scenes.

However, the "Chariots of Fire" story is incredibly powerful...

Okay, we know that racism is bad, it hurts to be disceiminated against and it's good for a person to stand up for what he believes in. In real life, wonderful. But not a very interesting movie topic. As we've discussed on these boards, the good guy fighting the injustice of a system is just not a great movie topic... But the Good Guy Fighting Against An Unjust System, I just don't think that makes for a very good movie topic.

Chariots of Fire is about two men, not one. It compares a Scottish Christian (Eric Liddle) with an English Jew (Harold Abrahams) and the battles, internal and external, that they must overcome in terms of their religious identities to compete in the last truly amateur Olympic games. It actually contains one of my all-time favorite movie lines:

"Jenny, I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast... And when I run I feel his pleasure."

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« Reply #36 on: July 14, 2016, 09:33:02 PM »



However, the "Chariots of Fire" story is incredibly powerful...

Chariots of Fire is about two men, not one. It compares a Scottish Christian (Eric Liddle) with an English Jew (Harold Abrahams) and the battles, internal and external, that they must overcome in terms of their religious identities to compete in the last truly amateur Olympic games. It actually contains one of my all-time favorite movie lines:

"Jenny, I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast... And when I run I feel his pleasure."

Yes, Abrahams faces racism, Liddle faces a test of his religious convictions. I just don't find that sort of story interesting. I can empathize with people in those situations without liking the movie.

Also, in a movie about speed, is showing the races in super slo-mo such a good idea? Perhaps it's to mask that Cross is not a very fast runner; I seem to recall that in the scenes where you see him running at regular speed rather than slow-mo, he's actually not very quick.

And that line by Liddle, it's the one always quoted, but I don't find it that great. The actor that played Liddle was good, though. He died young, sad.

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« Reply #37 on: July 15, 2016, 03:57:11 AM »

It's not that crazy an article is it? What specifically did you have issue with?

A few examples from what I remember from the article:

- "Cinematographers are nothing more than cameramen" => lol.
- "I see all my movie in 3 dimensions long before I shoot it, I see how the actors move, I see exactly how I frame it, where the light is" => I don't believe it for a second. Some directors can/could do that. I think Hitchcock, Leone, Scorsese, Fincher are/were like that, for example. Not Cimino. His films, even his greatest ones (that are masterpieces) dont feel that crafted/mastered/precise. You can see that many scenes are shaped in post much more than in pre-production.
- "Nobody directed Anthony Hopkins before me" => lol.

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« Reply #38 on: July 15, 2016, 11:34:16 AM »

- "Cinematographers are nothing more than cameramen" => lol.

Yeh that one did make me smile. I mean the guy had Vilmos Zsigmond for The Deer Hunter and Heaven's Gate!!! Only one of the greatest cinematographers ever!! Interestingly, I remember reading an interview with Zsigmond where he maintained that Heaven's Gate would eventually be reevaluated and recognized as a great piece of work. It seems he was right about that.

- "I see all my movie in 3 dimensions long before I shoot it, I see how the actors move, I see exactly how I frame it, where the light is" => I don't believe it for a second. Some directors can/could do that. I think Hitchcock, Leone, Scorsese, Fincher are/were like that, for example. Not Cimino. His films, even his greatest ones (that are masterpieces) dont feel that crafted/mastered/precise. You can see that many scenes are shaped in post much more than in pre-production.

Hmmm.... I think he did rely on post-production a lot (who doesn't to a degree?) which is particularly so given how much film he shot. However, he was a true visual artist and I absolutely buy the argument that he saw in his mind exactly how he would shoot it.

- "Nobody directed Anthony Hopkins before me" => lol.

I agree - that sounds like his ego talking.

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« Reply #39 on: July 15, 2016, 11:38:55 AM »

Also, in a movie about speed, is showing the races in super slo-mo such a good idea? Perhaps it's to mask that Cross is not a very fast runner; I seem to recall that in the scenes where you see him running at regular speed rather than slow-mo, he's actually not very quick.

The slo-mo scenes with the Chariots of Fire score at the beginning and end have become a sports cliche now. Leone's gunslingers with twitching fingers and close-ups on their snarling faces have become a Western cliche. I think the fact that they became cliches says something about the power of the imagery.

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« Reply #40 on: July 15, 2016, 01:51:24 PM »


And did I mention that a woman at work has that song as her cellphone ringtone, and makes me NUTS when her phone rings every ten minutes?

If I worked where you work that woman would be dead by now.

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« Reply #41 on: July 15, 2016, 02:44:47 PM »

The slo-mo scenes with the Chariots of Fire score at the beginning and end have become a sports cliche now. Leone's gunslingers with twitching fingers and close-ups on their snarling faces have become a Western cliche. I think the fact that they became cliches says something about the power of the imagery.


I am certainly not against slo-mo when used properly and not too much. But it seemed to me that there was too much of it here. Especially in a race that is supposed to show speed.

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« Reply #42 on: July 18, 2016, 12:58:53 PM »

Even the The Economist printed an obit:

http://www.economist.com/news/obituary/21702145-michael-cimino-film-maker-who-tasted-both-triumph-and-disaster-died-july-2nd-aged-77

I think he did rely on post-production a lot (who doesn't to a degree?) which is particularly so given how much film he shot. However, he was a true visual artist and I absolutely buy the argument that he saw in his mind exactly how he would shoot it.

For anyone who for some unfathomable reason neglected to purchase the Criterion BD of "Heaven's Gate", Criterion have just shared the following clip from the bonus features:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_BBOnbdvcQ

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« Reply #43 on: July 20, 2016, 03:03:08 AM »

It's not that crazy an article is it? What specifically did you have issue with?

I think he was. A while ago, I bought this book (essentially an extended interview) that was only published in French:

https://www.amazon.fr/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?__mk_fr_FR=%C3%85M%C3%85%C5%BD%C3%95%C3%91&url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=michael+cimino+thoret

I've also been meaning to buy this one for a while:

https://www.amazon.fr/gp/product/2070313158/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_4?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A1X6FK5RDHNB96

He also apparently published a novel in French too:

https://www.amazon.fr/Big-Jane-Michael-Cimino/dp/2070417603/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1468378283&sr=1-3&keywords=michael+cimino

I think he got a lot of respect from people in France as a major artist / auteur. Given how the industry in his own country treated him, I'm not surprised he chose to move to France - I mean, everyone likes to have their ego stroked.

Nobody's a prophet in his own village. Smiley

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« Reply #44 on: August 01, 2016, 03:42:40 PM »

I'm sure I remember reading somewhere that Morricone was asked to score Heaven's Gate, but fell asleep in the screening room. Shame. Wonder what the maestro would've come up with?

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