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"In his film, director Michael Epstein, an expert on Hollywood history, carefully excavates the rubble of the 'Heaven's Gate' fiasco to consider whether Michael Cimino's film deserves its reputation as an unmitigated disaster. In essence, Epstein argues that the film's poor performance at the box office has unfairly eclipsed its artistic merit; along the way, he provides a savvy lesson in silver-screen economics, making it clear that 'Heaven's Gate' was less a failure than a victim of corporate circumstance – the film was just one of many problems facing United Artists at the time – and of a bloodthirsty press desperate for a story. Through thoughtful interviews – generously peppered with clips and stills – with executives, crew and actors Kris Kristofferson, Brad Dourif and Jeff Bridges, Epstein does a fine job of crafting his argument with common sense and wit. No detail of the majestic and hugely ambitious project is left uncovered, allowing Epstein to confront head-on a central issue of the Hollywood machine: should the power lie with the artist or the financier? Heaven's Gate was destroyed because its director spent an excessive amount of money to achieve his vision. It may be time to see the film for the beautifully detailed work of art it is." Noah Cowan

Production: Viewfinder Productions Inc. (New York), Specialty Films Inc. (New York)

Screenplay: Michael Epstein

Cinematographer: Michael Chin

Composer: Joel Goodman

Editor: Penny Elliot Hays

Format: Digi Beta PAL, Color

Running time: 79 min.

Language: English

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur