AEC


film (b)log by
ariel esteban cayer


about

index



The House on Sorority Row (Mark Rosman, 1983)

The House on Sorority Row (Mark Rosman, 1983)

Dreamscape (Joseph Ruben, 1984)

Dreamscape (Joseph Ruben, 1984)

Heaven’s Gate (Michael Cimino, 1980; Director’s Cut [2012])
Heavily panned and historically maligned film that most infamously bankrupted United Artists, Heaven’s Gate, in conjunction with the financial disasters that were now-classic films such as Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979) and its follow-up One from the Heart (1982), signaled what would be the end of New Hollywood — the thrillingly creative period of American filmmaking during which auteurs such as Friedkin, Coppola, Ashby, Kubrick, Altman, De Palma, Bogdanovich and co. rose to prominence and effectively ran the show, changing the name of the game for everyone. 
In its sweeping, newly restored 216-minute long director’s cut, which premiered in Venice last year while also making it to the Criterion Collection more recently, Heaven’s Gate is, like many memorable films of the period, an incredible testament to the vision, ego and ambition of its creator. If ridiculously indulgent, disappointingly (and bloatedly) straightforward, as well as slightly naive in its themes and handling of a dark, violent and subversive West that begged to be further explored given the film’s whopping runtime, Heaven’s Gate - a messy love story as well as a fictional handling of the Johnson County War of 1892 - proves to be a completely engrossing and amazingly epic Western — so large and sweeping it cannot be anything but wholly memorable. Resting on gorgeous scenery, minute character development (or at least, incidental development due to gargantuan screentime) and an unbelievable cast of character actors involving everyone from Kris Kristofferson, Isabelle Huppert, Mickey Rourke, Brad Dourif, Jeff Bridges, John Hurt, Christopher Walken to an uncredited (and unceremoniously fired) Willem Dafoe, Cimino’s ego explosion is perhaps more interesting for its place in film history than for the narrative it offers, but remains a journey well worth taking at least once.

Heaven’s Gate (Michael Cimino, 1980; Director’s Cut [2012])

Heavily panned and historically maligned film that most infamously bankrupted United Artists, Heaven’s Gatein conjunction with the financial disasters that were now-classic films such as Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979) and its follow-up One from the Heart (1982), signaled what would be the end of New Hollywood — the thrillingly creative period of American filmmaking during which auteurs such as Friedkin, Coppola, Ashby, Kubrick, Altman, De Palma, Bogdanovich and co. rose to prominence and effectively ran the show, changing the name of the game for everyone.

In its sweepingnewly restored 216-minute long director’s cut, which premiered in Venice last year while also making it to the Criterion Collection more recently, Heaven’s Gate is, like many memorable films of the period, an incredible testament to the vision, ego and ambition of its creator. If ridiculously indulgent, disappointingly (and bloatedly) straightforward, as well as slightly naive in its themes and handling of a dark, violent and subversive West that begged to be further explored given the film’s whopping runtime, Heaven’s Gate - a messy love story as well as a fictional handling of the Johnson County War of 1892 - proves to be a completely engrossing and amazingly epic Western — so large and sweeping it cannot be anything but wholly memorable. Resting on gorgeous scenery, minute character development (or at least, incidental development due to gargantuan screentime) and an unbelievable cast of character actors involving everyone from Kris Kristofferson, Isabelle Huppert, Mickey Rourke, Brad Dourif, Jeff Bridges, John Hurt, Christopher Walken to an uncredited (and unceremoniously fired) Willem Dafoe, Cimino’s ego explosion is perhaps more interesting for its place in film history than for the narrative it offers, but remains a journey well worth taking at least once.

Dune (David Lynch, 1984)

Dune (David Lynch, 1984)

Next of Kin (Tony Williams, 1982)

Next of Kin (Tony Williams, 1982)

Pereval (short; Vladimir Tarasov, 1988)
Easily one of the more stunning animated short films I have ever seen, the 1988 psychedelic Russian sci-fi film Pereval (a.k.a. The Passage), adapted from Kir Bulychev’s work, could not have come at a better time: highly reminiscent of Frank Herbert’s Dune (which I am currently — fucking finally — finishing), it is perfectly in line with the desert mysticism aesthetic I’m currently dipping in, and a masterpiece of its own. You can watch the whole thing in two parts on Youtube, here [1] and there [2].

Pereval (short; Vladimir Tarasov, 1988)

Easily one of the more stunning animated short films I have ever seen, the 1988 psychedelic Russian sci-fi film Pereval (a.k.a. The Passage), adapted from Kir Bulychev’s work, could not have come at a better time: highly reminiscent of Frank Herbert’s Dune (which I am currently — fucking finally — finishing), it is perfectly in line with the desert mysticism aesthetic I’m currently dipping in, and a masterpiece of its own. You can watch the whole thing in two parts on Youtube, here [1] and there [2].

Shut the Fuck Up (short; General Idea, 1985)
Commenting on artist’s representation by sampling and remixing camp Batman (1966-68), some disturbing Furries aerobics nightmare(??) and Yve Klein’s segment in Mondo Cane (1962)? Sold! Click-through to watch.

Shut the Fuck Up (short; General Idea, 1985)

Commenting on artist’s representation by sampling and remixing camp Batman (1966-68), some disturbing Furries aerobics nightmare(??) and Yve Klein’s segment in Mondo Cane (1962)? Sold! Click-through to watch.

Seeing in the Rain (short; Chris Gallagher, 1981)
Hands down one of the most impressive experimental films (Structural? Post-structural? Cubist? Does it matter?) I’ve had the chance to see. As far as I’m concerned, the best experimental work goes beyond visual masturbation, exploring, discussing and picking apart specific aspects of filmmaking — wether shape, color, editing, camera movement and so on. Much like a beautiful doodle would hint at a superb drawing, Chris Gallagher’s 10-minute short sketches a long take (and our expectations around it) and deconstructs it rhythmically. It’s eloquent, playful and so delightfully simple in every way you cannot help yourself but wish you had come up with the idea. Click-through to watch.

Seeing in the Rain (short; Chris Gallagher, 1981)

Hands down one of the most impressive experimental films (Structural? Post-structural? Cubist? Does it matter?) I’ve had the chance to see. As far as I’m concerned, the best experimental work goes beyond visual masturbation, exploring, discussing and picking apart specific aspects of filmmaking — wether shape, color, editing, camera movement and so on. Much like a beautiful doodle would hint at a superb drawing, Chris Gallagher’s 10-minute short sketches a long take (and our expectations around it) and deconstructs it rhythmically. It’s eloquent, playful and so delightfully simple in every way you cannot help yourself but wish you had come up with the idea. Click-through to watch.

All My Life (short; Bruce Baillie, 1966) // Blue Velvet (David Lynch, 1986)

Lords of the Deep (Mary Ann Fisher, 1989)
Between The Abyss, Leviathan, DeepStar Six, and three others, the same movie came out 6 times in 1989 and this one, about giant telepathic manta rays hugging humans back to life and telling them they should stop polluting the planet, is undoubtedly the bottom of the deep sea barrel. Thanks again, Roger Corman.

Lords of the Deep (Mary Ann Fisher, 1989)

Between The Abyss, Leviathan, DeepStar Six, and three others, the same movie came out 6 times in 1989 and this one, about giant telepathic manta rays hugging humans back to life and telling them they should stop polluting the planet, is undoubtedly the bottom of the deep sea barrel. Thanks again, Roger Corman.

Hookers on Davie (Janis Cole & Hollis Dale, 1984)

Hookers on Davie (Janis Cole & Hollis Dale, 1984)

If You Love This Planet (short; Terre Nash, 1982)

If You Love This Planet (short; Terre Nash, 1982)

The Grey Fox (Phillip Borsos, 1982)
Sparse, simple yet compellingly beautiful Western, the rarely seen The Grey Fox tells of the life of soft-spoken, well-mannered American criminal Bill “The Gentleman Bandit” Miner, stagecoach robber jailed in 1868, released at the turn of the century — and who most notably coined the phrase “Hands Up!”. Involved on and off in train robberies in British Columbia, he would be jailed twice after that, only to escape on both occasions. Borsos crafts a sober, if slightly melodramatic account of the man’s life, carried beautifully by Richard Farnsworth, better known for his role in Lynch’s The Straight Story (1999).

The Grey Fox (Phillip Borsos, 1982)

Sparse, simple yet compellingly beautiful Western, the rarely seen The Grey Fox tells of the life of soft-spoken, well-mannered American criminal Bill “The Gentleman Bandit” Miner, stagecoach robber jailed in 1868, released at the turn of the century — and who most notably coined the phrase “Hands Up!”. Involved on and off in train robberies in British Columbia, he would be jailed twice after that, only to escape on both occasions. Borsos crafts a sober, if slightly melodramatic account of the man’s life, carried beautifully by Richard Farnsworth, better known for his role in Lynch’s The Straight Story (1999).