636 Heaven's Gate

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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No longer chasing skirts
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Re: 636 Heaven's Gate

#251 Post by soundchaser » Thu Aug 16, 2018 6:09 pm

Magic Hate Ball wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 5:46 pm
If I'm going to spend three plus hours in the company of a small set of characters, I'd rather they not be kept at arm's length unless there's a compelling thematic reason.
She's an immigrant - the whole community is made up of immigrants. They're kept at a distance probably to emphasize both their outsider status within the country and Kristofferson's position as an outsider within their tightly-knit group. "How should Americans - and by extension America - react to these people?" seems, to me, to be the fundamental question the film is asking. It may not be entirely successful, but the thematic justification is there.

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Re: 636 Heaven's Gate

#252 Post by knives » Thu Aug 16, 2018 6:27 pm

I don't think we are at arm's length, or at least Cimino isn't. Whether or not it works for you he clearly is emotionally invested in Walken's character and intellectually curious concerning Bridges and Kristofferson. This is rather different from gaining more meaningful information about the characters. Perhaps the best way I have to expressing this is that Cimino gives us the full character instantly and then shows the story to explain why we should care. It's a bit like if you met someone without knowing about them, but got a very strong impression of them only to find out later they were the president or something else notable.

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Re: 636 Heaven's Gate

#253 Post by Magic Hate Ball » Thu Aug 16, 2018 6:41 pm

I disagree - Cimino gives us a rough, hazy outline of his characters, and struggles to fill them out via their actions or dialogue. It's more like seeing someone across the room at a party, and then hearing a jumbled anecdote about them from someone else. If I wanted to be uncharitable, I would say that we do get to know them well from the beginning, because there's not much to know about them in the first place.

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