American director Michael Cimino will receive the Persol 2012 Award of the Venice Film Festival, starting on August 29. The honour celebrates an international movie legend every year. This year, the prize, sponsored by the Italian luxury eyewear maker, Persol, will be given away on August 30.
The Festival’s Director, Alberto Barbera, said: "It is a belated but long overdue acknowledgment of the greatness of a visionary filmmaker, one of the most intense and original voices in American cinema of the last forty years, gradually reduced to silence after the box-office flop of a masterpiece to which the movie producers contributed with senseless cuts. By virtue of his immense talent, Cimino has exalted the filmmaking art and offered a portrait of America, both critical and passionate, lucid and compelling.”
The award ceremony will be followed by the screening of Cimino’s masterpiece, Heaven’s Gate (1980), as part of the Festival’s classics. The uncut version of Heaven’s Gate – a highly controversial Western epic - was first presented at Venice in 1982.
Also a writer, Cimino read his novel, Big Jane, to a large audience during the 2001 edition of the Festival.
Cimino has had an illustrious career. He won two Academy Awards for The Deer Hunter in 1979, and was recognised as one of the most influential moviemakers of the 1970s Hollywood. After studying architecture and drama, he began filming documentaries. His first feature, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, came in 1974, and it fetched Jeff Bridges an Oscar nomination. Clint Eastwood played a bank robber in the movie.
It was Cimino’s second feature, The Deer Hunter, which attracted wide public and critical acclaim. Described as an atypical war movie, dealing with the guilt of Vietnam, The Deer Hunter starred Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep among others, and went on to clinch five Academy Awards, including those for Best Picture and Best Director, out of the nine nods it had.
Cimino’s Chinese mafia story, Year of the Dragon with Mickey Rourke, The Sicilian and Desperate Hours, a remake of the 1955 William Wyler crime classic with Humphrey Bogart, were some of the greatest hits of the helmer.
The Venice Film Festival will run till September 8 on the Lido Island.