Brokeback Mountain – not a gay film
- Brokeback Mountain
Went to see Brokeback mountain alone, last Wednesday. While people seem to shy away from going to the cinema alone, I personally enjoy it. It means that I don't have to worry about whether Chris likes it, and I can indulge and enjoy a film I truly want to see.
I thought Brokeback Mountain was fantastic, it was deeply moving, with stunning scenery, and the silences more profund and articulate than much of the dialogue. The opening is stunning, Heath Ledger and Jake Glynenhall do not speak for the first five minutes or so, and it is their actions, and the camera that talks to you. I was hooked.
I don't want to discuss the plot, that is a privilege one should have while watching the film, or reading the short story, but it is very touching. But I do want to talk about how this isn't a gay film, and should not be labelled as one. Rather like Simon Hughes' reluctance to discuss his sexuality, there is no need to define anything as gay or straight. The film is a love story, a story of friendship and discovery. Just because they explore the physical through 'homosexual' acts does not mean that this film deserves to be labelled and sectioned as a 'gay' film.
I found it very difficult to not watch the film with my academic head on, but with hindsight it is good that Ang Lee tries to challenge masculine stereotypes and explores masculinities. Hollywood oftten fails to challenge or subvert masculinities, often celebrating the 'hard man' or 'the geek'. Brokeback mountain however suggests that men can be gay, can be macho, can be married, be good parents, and none of these are damaging or destructive. Interesting, Heath Ledger, in interviews around the film, is determined to suggest that he found kissing Jake Glynehall very difficult and is keen and unsubtle in his declarations of heterosexuality. (Note – Ledger and Williams met on the set of the film, fell in love, married and had a child- surely an assertion if subconscious of Ledger's desire to be seen as a man).
Sorry – please go and see this film, if you have to gasp at the sex scenes then do, but please remember that this film is so much more than two gay men, and that really, does it matter? We don't define Titanic as a straight film, so why do we have to define this as a gay film. Both lead men get married, have children, lead 'normal' lives. If you watch this film with assumptions and definitions than you will fail to see what Lee is showing you, and you will let them win …