The Rome Film Festival has announced that Oscar-winning director Michael Cimino will attend this year’s event, slated for October 22-31. Really? The Deer Hunter director has been a mystery in recent years, He was spotted at Cannes in 2007, having made a short film for the Chacun son cinéma 60th anniversary program. Before that, however, he hadn’t directed a film since the bomb Sunchaser in 1996. Before that? The Desperate Hours remake in 1990, which was also a flop. Of course no flop in the 1990s met the same kind of legendary status as his 1980 disaster opus, Heaven’s Gate.
Cimino has stayed relatively quiet for a number of years, so in festival programming terms, his public appearance is a coup. In a Vanity Fair article earlier this year, writer Peter Biskind also documented the filmmaker’s reclusive nature. While discussing the controversy around his 1978 Oscar-winner The Deer Hunter, Biskind writes:
Cimino, who has not directed a feature since 1996, and who has been the focus of gossip concerning his alleged desire to change his gender, could not be reached for comment. (His representatives said he was in China scouting locations for a new film.)
Based on an IMDB listing, this film appears to be Man’s Fate, based on a novel by André Malraux. Hopefully we’ll know more after this year’s Rome Film Festival.