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Venice's Restored Classic Lineup for 80th Fest Includes Welles, Hawks, Bergman, Rosselini and Cimino, In Person with 'Heaven's Gate'

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood July 25, 2012 at 2:51PM

In celebration of the Venice Film Festival's 80th anniversary, the fest will screen a program of restored classic films, titled "Venezia Classici." Included in the cinephile-dream lineup is Welles' "Chimes at Midnight," Bergman's "Fanny and Alexander," Hawks' "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," Rosselini's "Stromboli" and Cimino's restored "Heaven's Gate."
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Michael Cimino's "Heaven's Gate"
Michael Cimino's "Heaven's Gate"

In celebration of the Venice Film Festival's 80th anniversary, the fest will screen a program of restored classic films, titled "Venezia Classici." Included in the cinephile-dream lineup is Orson Welles' seldom-seen "Chimes at Midnight," Ingmar Bergman's "Fanny and Alexander," Howard Hawks' "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," Roberto Rosselini's "Stromboli" and the restored version of Michael Cimino's "Heaven's Gate," which Cimino will accompany (the epic failure, as described in Steven Bach's must-read "Final Cut," brought down United Artists).

The program's mission statement shows an admirable embrace of both the preservation of invaluable film heritage and the new digital age:

Although relatively recent, the promotion of access to and appreciation of  the vast heritage represented by classic films is now a phenomenon of international significance. Until the end of the last century, the conservation and restoration of vintage films were for the most part entrusted to cinematheques and the film archives of the major film institutions. With the growing awareness that film heritage is a cultural asset deserving the same attention given to other forms of artistic expression, and with the proliferation of distribution platforms restoring market value to films that seemed to have outlived their economic usefulness, an increasing number of organizations are now devoting considerable energy and resources to the restoration of classic films: production companies, home video distributors, copyright holders, public and private art and cultural institutions, film museums, film libraries and national archives.

The main result of this new trend, facilitated by the advent of the digital age, is to give contemporary audiences the opportunity to view again or see for the first time (in the case of young people who have very little knowledge of the past) films of great historical importance, and to revaluate films that have been unjustly forgotten or that are no longer visible, projected on the big screen in the best possible conditions.

Full lineup below:

This article is related to: Venice Film Festival, Classics, Digital Future, Michael Cimino


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.