News from the Locarno Festival

Cinema = Cimino

Michael Cimino, Pardo d’onore Swisscom


© Alessio Pizzicannella

Since the day you came to Hollywood, you have directed seven movies but you also admitted to have written more than 50 screenplays. Why?

Out of ten written screenplays, it is possible to produce only one. It is practically always so, almost a natural law: you always create much more than what you’re actually watching on the screen. I think that it is fundamental to go on writing, with perseverance and sacrifice, because the situation is as obvious as simple: more you’re writing and more opportunities you’re having to realize your project. If you’re getting discouraged, you’re lost forever.

Is there still space for creative freedom in this movie industry where business and its needs are so prevalent?

One cannot be born with freedom, that’s for sure. Freedom is something you have to conquer, and earn, day by day. It is a strenuous battle to fight during every moment, the only way I have to conceive freedom. I think that the sense of life is in motion: to stay alive you have to move, over and over again. Only when death comes, movement is denied.

But in the last period, in your opinion, has American cinema been able to renew itself continuously?

Results are exclusively depending on will and belief people are demonstrating when they develop their ideas. We can all move, but moving is not enough to reach quality. It depends on mental attitude you keep facing such an experience. Everybody of us has to put effort into realizing something with value. In order to achieve our objectives, we have to show off all our willpower and dedication.

In 1979 The Deer Hunter, your most succesful movie, won five Academy Awards. Where did its subject come from?

In America the idea of family as social nucleus is disappeared, it does not exist anymore since a long time and I already wanted to show it in The Deer Hunter. Today family has become our own group of friends and everybody has his own – a situation which reflects the same we saw in Federico Fellini’s I Vitelloni, where friends constitute a sort of family. Today we are then creating our own family, while several years ago we were used to inherit it, to be born in it. There were not any other chances. Now it is an act of creation.

An important French critic, Serge Daney, wrote that American Dream is a leitmotiv which goes through all your cinema. Is it a broken dream?

No, because the American Dream is not anything different that a world dream and America is only one of the many world creations, but it has been able to capture aspiration of many people coming from all over the world. Still today, America is a new form of worldwide experiment: 150 years ago coloured people were still in chains, but today the President is African-American as the female tennis world champion. This is the proof that American Dream still works. Obviously this is not an ideal world, there are still many mistakes, things that do not work, but the dream goes on, is alive, jumping everywhere. America is like a kid, sometimes you have to tell him to shut up and to stay quiet. It is inevitable, we are young and pretty noisy but you have to be patient, sooner or later we will grow up.

Lorenzo Buccella

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