Heaven's Gate tops bill at Venezia Classici

13 August 2012

Michael Cimino to attend and receive Persol Award for contribution to filmmaking.

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It looks like 2012 will be a big year for classic cinema at the 69th Biennale di Venezia film festival. A strong line-up has been organised by one of Europe’s leading festivals with films represented by Park Circus having a strong presence, showcasing two classic titles.

Topping the list is Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate. MGM's 1981 classic has been restored from the original 219-minute director's cut for a new digital print and will be presented in the festival’s classic film strand, 30 years after it originally screened at the festival. Heaven’s Gate will be a true highlight in Venice and particularly pertinent as the festival has this year decided to award Cimino with the Persol 2012 award. A director, screenwriter and producer, Cimino will receive an award which 'aims to celebrate a legend of international filmmaking'. 

Festival Director Alberto Barbera said:

It is a belated but long overdue acknowledgment of the greatness of a visionary filmmaker, one of the most intense and original voices in American filmmaking of the last forty years, gradually reduced to silence after the box-office flop of a masterpiece to which the film producers contributed with senseless cuts. By virtue of his immense talent, Cimino has exalted the filmmaking art and offered a portrait of America both critical and passionate, lucid and compelling."

The film's official screening will take place on 30 August in the Sala Perla with a public date set for 8 September.

The Venezia Classici will also screen a restored digital print of the Elio Petri classic, Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion. A superb film supplemented by a wonderfully complementary soundtrack by Ennio Morricone, this is another title that will be made available for booking later in 2012. 

Under its original title of Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto, this is one of two films from Petri to screen (the other being La Decima Vittima) and will be presented on 3 September and 4 September.

Read more from the festival on their decision to engage with classic cinema following the successes of such initiatives by festivals in Cannes, Bologna and Lyon - it certainly has been an exciting year on the festival circuit.