The Return of Michael Cimino

Now 76, Heaven's Gate and The Deer Hunter auteur makes waves in Switzerland.

For journalist Anne Thompson, whose dealings with writer-director Michael Cimino date back to the late 1970s when she was a member of the United Artists publicity department in New York, the logical comparison all these years later is to an actor who once played for him the character of Stanley White:

… the nip, tucked, dyed and wafer-thin Cimino, who is 76 years old and has had as much work done on his face as his Year of the Dragon star Mickey Rourke

Thompson was in the audience Monday for Cimino’s two-hour Q&A at the Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland. The filmmaker also accepted an award from the event Sunday night.

From afar, others reacted with astonishment to the writer-director’s physical appearance. A Thompson article commenter brought up Caitlyn Jenner, while IGN executive editor, movies, Jim Vejvoda tweeted that Cimino reminded him of Dr. Startz, the character so memorably essayed by Rob Lowe in the 2013 HBO movie Behind the Candelabra. A more erudite description of Cimino – “addled perfectionist” – was shared by NYU film professor Colin Brown.

Cimino’s talk Monday was about half the length of his 1980 Western, famously panned by Vincent Canby by way of a press screening… also attended by Thompson.