On Heaven’s Gate

Bracketing the bullshit surrounding a movie is tough. But you make a concerted effort. Forget how much it cost (and lost), you tell yourself. Forget the stories and reviews and legends. Simply consider the images and sounds. Remember those strings! You replay them from Youtube. Is Cimino simply manipulating us? The audience is told to be wistful, or that the characters are wistful, or that 1870s Wyoming was full of wistfulness, or that we’re wistful for it. And remember Nate Champion, sweeping bread crumbs from his table, in his home; nervous but excited, glancing at Ella Watson for any sign of approval. Is he manipulating us too?

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