Get Annette´s free audio

and learn to see films in a whole new way
(you will also get a free subscription to my ezine)

Author Archives: Annette Wernblad

Michael Cimino: Mea Culpa

Michael Cimino-


Yesterday Michael Cimino passed away, and my heart is heavy for many reasons. When the American New Wave screeched to a halt in 1980, Cimino was the one who single-handedly took the blame: for the collapse of United Artists and for an enchanted decade in the history of filmmaking coming to an end.

Despite the fact, that many factors played into this happening, it was Cimino and HEAVEN’S GATE that were reviled, and the film was brutalized beyond words. The truth is, of course, that many other directors and producers played a part in what happened – and Cimino was by no means the only one who was guilty of extremely self-indulgent filmmaking at that point.

Be all that as it may, HEAVEN’S GATE remains an absolute masterpiece and it has never been celebrated sufficiently in my opinion. Cimino’s primary “sin” was trying to create a work of ART in an industry that had already started shifting to the ludicrously commercial tunnel vision that we are stuck with still.

It breaks my heart that no one ever truly stood up for this man – that no one ever came wholeheartedly to his defence – with the possible exception of Mickey Rourke whom no one took seriously. The majority just stood back – protecting their own hide when the New Hollywood imploded – and let Cimino be crucified in public.

The painful truth is that so did I. I know, I was just a young girl when it happened, but 36 years have passed, and it seems to me that apart from defending him in my teaching, I could have expressed to the world the horrific injustice I believe was done to this man. I can only deeply regret that I didn’t, and do my best to make up for it now. I take comfort in the fact that when a few weeks ago I presented my 2016 Top 10 lists of the greatest films ever made, I did include HEAVEN’S GATE. That has to count for something. Doesn’t it?

Kris Kristofferson plays a huge part in why HEAVEN’S GATE is such a magnum opus, so in conclusion I will quote from his homage to Peckinpah which expresses so clearly what I’m trying to say:

There’s no harder words to say over a friend
than ‘they done you so righteously wrong;
they stopped you from singing your song.’

Rest in peace, Michael Cimino.


Casino: It was 20 years ago today …

  Actually, to be honest, it was 20 years ago yesterday. On November 22, 1995, Martin Scorsese’s CASINO opened in the theatres all across the United States. To me, that film has always been quite underrated. When it was first released Casino was superficially and unfairly tagged “GoodFellas removed to Las Vegas.” — “So striking are the films’ similarities that Casino’s raison d’être seems unclear,”…

A Chilling Inward Glance

  by Eric Peeper Something Chilling As Halloween Approaches ….  Scorsese is an ardent admirer of Val Lewton’s psychological suspense pictures. This culminated brilliantly with his narrating and producing Kent Jones’ terrific documentary on Lewton. But in several ways it also leads back to Scorsese’s contribution to his friend Steven Spielberg’s series Amazing Stories. Scorsese’s…

The Mask and the Mirror

  The mirror does not flatter, it faithfully shows whatever looks into it; namely the face we never show to the world because we cover it with the persona, the mask of the actor. But the mirror lies behind the mask and shows the true face. (Carl G. Jung) In Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious…

E.L Doctorow: A Personal Eulogy

My heart is heavy today. I was so saddened to wake up the news that E.L. Doctorow, my friend and mentor, has passed away at the age of 84. Doctorow redefined the novel as a genre. He redefined what fiction writing is. He redefined the relationship between fiction writing and history writing. In the process,…

It Is Happening Again …

  WOW, BIG NEWS: I started a new book. Just now! Today! The funny thing is, I had no idea I was going to do it. It just happened. Randomly? Or by what Carl Jung called synchronicity? I will tell the story of how it came about very soon. Since my Scorsese book was published…

Annette’s New Year’s Ritual

  Many people start a new year by making ambitious new year’s resolutions. I have never liked the idea of new year’s resolutions, because basically they suggest that something is wrong with us that we have to change. Our entire system protests against this, so more often than not, we forget all about them within…

3 unusual Christmas films

  You can find lists of classic Holiday movies many places, but today I will discuss three very unusual Christmas films. They are films that you probably know, but that you may never have thought of as Christmas films.   1. Profondo Rosso (Dario Argento 1975) A neatly decorated living room with a Christmas tree…