The title character of Michael Cimino’s debut novel Big Jane is a 19-year-old New York woman who, in 1951, is compelled to travel across the U.S. with a man on a motorcycle. But as the film director told our sister publication The Hollywood Reporter earlier this year, in what was billed as his first interview in 13 years, the reason he has not published the book in English tracks back to Heaven’s Gate:
“I’ve published a couple of short novels in France that I didn’t want to publish in English because I loved the characters too much to subject them to American critics who were not exactly favorable toward my work.”
Thanks to the THR interview and a subsequent appearance this summer at Switzerland’s Locarno International Film Festival, which we wrote about here, 2015 turned out to be the most prominent year for Cimino news since 2012, when his recut version of Heaven’s Gate earned plaudits at film festivals in Venice and New York.
If you missed it, the THR interview is fascinating. At one point, Cimino discounts a famous story about him involving the editing phase of Heaven’s Gate; he also paints a very intriguing picture of his new life in Europe.
At this fall’s Montana Film Festival, Heaven’s Gate was one of three movies screened as part of a showcase of movies made in the state. Event organizer Andrew Steinberg offered The Missoulian newspaper this view:
“I think the unanimous decision is that it’s an extraordinary film, outside of the context of box office and removed from its … need to perform, it’s an extraordinary vision.”