Wednesday, 4 January 2006

On the Mountain Again

I know I have already blogged about the film but today, I received an email from the friend who went to see Brokeback Mountain on Friday like me, telling me that he "can't get the romanticism of b/back mountain out of [his] head!".

I have to say that I don't really feel the same. No just a chick flickWhile I still think it is a good film and I find it intellectually very satisfying, perhaps because of its very perfection and utter slickness, I don't seem to be able to actually relate to it emotionally. The two main characters are two rough ranch hands brought up in 1950's middle America and are not expected (neither probably have they been taught) to show their feelings. Indeed the whole film is about how they try to cope with this enormous unexpected thing which has befallen them. Their love for another man. It is therefore quite right for the story to be told from a detached perspective. This however doesn't really allow for identification with the characters' plight, certainly not as much as one could expect from a "weepy".

It is worth pointing out here that, contrary to what extremist Christian groups say about the film in the US, this is not a propaganda film for homosexuality. Rather Ang Lee is exploring the situation, never really taking sides. None of the characters are particularly likeable and all are certainly very humain in their imperfections. One can not help, however, seeing the film to conclude that denying oneself and giving up to social presure against homosexuality will make all people involved suffer (and not just the two men involved). This is perhaps something that could have been dealt with a little more deeply in the film. We are indeed shown the suffering of the wives only superficially. Also, it seems to me that when Ennis' wife (as far as we can tell, a fairly naive young girl, very much of her time and place) stumbles on her husband kissing another man, she would probably not have known what she was looking at and therefore would probably not have reacted the way she does in the film.
You can read more on the moral lessons of the film here

Going back to my point. Yes, you will probably be touched (like I cried) by the sheer force of what you will have witnessed and the effect might stay with you for a while (like with my friend); but the fact is that, however the film is being sold to straight audiences (targetting the "female vote" by modelling the poster on that of Titanic or even creating an alternative, less gay poster which seems to have very little to do with the film), it is by not means a "chick flick". It is a highly complex psychological drama, the layers of which (to take up Ennis' metaphore of the onion) are probably too numerous to be grasped fully. Well worth seeing in any case.

The film is to be released officially in this country on 06/01/06.
Official website.
Read the short story online.
This is the story as originally published in the New Yorker. It was reworked slighlty by the author for book publication.

You can read other posts of mine on the film here and here.

first posted on 03/01/06 - 4.33pm


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