Love is universal out on the range
“Brokeback Mountain,” the latest film by acclaimed director Ang Lee and based on a short story by E. Annie Proulx, has drawn even more attention than predecessors like “My Own Private Idaho” and “Crying Game.”
What’s so special about this tale of gay lovers?
Although “Brokeback Mountain” is labeled as a gay cowboy movie, it is more than that, taking a wider perspective on true love.
The film approaches the powerful affections between two men in a way that anybody could relate to ― anybody who has been forced to suppress their true feelings or dreams, regardless of their sexual preferences. Meanwhile, Ang Lee does not make a political statement.
Instead, the director does a wonderful job of simply telling the tale of two lovers in an up-close and personal way. The performances by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal were fantastic, but the movie would have been incomplete without the supporting actresses who played their wives.
Ennis Del Mar (Ledger) and Jack Twist (Gyllenhaal) meet while herding sheep in the beautiful terrain around Brokeback Mountain, Wyoming in 1963 ― a time when love between two men was strictly forbidden and discrimination against gays was harsher than that against blacks. The love they feel for each other across the ensuing decades, however, doesn’t spark right off the handle. Just as the movie opens with a shot of a lazy town where the only thing moving is a train passing through, their true feelings approach slowly.
But after some whisky in a small tent one night, their sexual encounter quickly becomes violent.
Later, Jack is more aggressive in expressing his feelings in a conservative society, while Ennis suppresses any feelings that the rest of the world would consider queer.
Denying his true feelings, Ennis moves on with his life, marries his long-time sweetheart and has two daughters. Jack tries to forget Ennis with great difficulty, and passes the time riding bulls at rodeos. But he too finally gets married and has a son of his own. Jack’s passion, however, never dies, but only gets stronger.
When the two meet again years later their feelings resurface. Ennis, however, wants it to be a temporary thing and believes he and Jack can never be. Jack desperately and outspokenly wants to spend the rest of his life with Ennis. It is really interesting that the story is set in a time and place and profession where such man-to-man feelings were not permitted nor accepted. This only makes the characters stronger and their feelings more alive.
But here’s a final question about movies that deal with homosexual lovers: Why is every gay person in these movies so god-blessedly good looking?
For once I would like to see a movie where gay man just look sloppy and fat.
Portraying gay man as having perfect features like the male models on the front page of GQ magazine is akin to the media’s habit of giving women an unrealistic body image.
Drama, Romance / English
by Lee Ho-jeong