If you live in L.A. and have masochist-adventurist leanings, get over to the American Cinematheque Aero Theatre on Saturday, April 1st, for a 7:30 pm screening of a restored and uncut print of Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate, which clocks in at faucet-dripping 219 minutes. This version has been on DVD for a long while, but this is one of those appalling creations you have to experience in a theatre on the big screen to fully appreciate. I was there, you see….at the evening press screening of this bloated, turgid western at Manhattan’s Cinema 1 theatre nearly 25 years and eight months ago. And I remmember very clearly how it played with the crowd I saw it with, and no amount of F.X. Feeney reimaginings are going to change that. Seeing Heaven’s Gate that night was like death from asphyxiation…it was oxygen being sucked out of the room….like being buried alive in the lower chamber of an Egyptian pyramid. And yet…and yet…it had something. A display of monumental indulgence that I’d never felt before that fateful night, and haven’t since. “When it was released, many critics reacted to the hoopla and negative hype, instead of the actual content of the film,” the program notes say…which, trust me, is revisionist horseshit. The notes are partly accurate, however, in saying that Heaven’s Gate “has undergone significant re-appraisal and its considerable virtues are now widely recognized,” except for the word “widely.” People have bought into the Feeney view of this film, although I can’t remember which contrarian film critics have signed aboard. The restored print will be introduced at the Aero screening by Sony film preservationist John Kirk and cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, and I am strangely attracted to the idea of coming and watching it again. What does that mean?