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bear by san

March 2017

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bear by san

Brokeback Mountain, immediate reaction shot

ObDisclaimer. I love Ang Lee. Even his flawed movies, like The Ice Storm. This movie is not flawed.

I am impressed.

And he's right. It's not a gay movie. It's not not a gay movie either. It's a movie about being human and fallible; it's profoundly inclusive in its specificity. And the critics who can't see that, I'm afraid, are suffering a failure of vision.

Which is not to say it's an easy movie to sit through. There's no gloss of honey over these characters: they do what they do because it's what people do, and sometimes it's noble, and sometimes it's not very nice. These are not self-aware, alienated, posturing characters; they are people who don't always understand their own motives. living out their lives circumscribed by a gorgeous and terrible sky.

The overall effect is disquieting and stark, unflinching, though that's a very tired and overused word. In short, it does not suck.

There's an Akira Kurosawa quote that I love. "To be an artist means never to avert one's eyes."

Ang Lee's finally matured as a film maker. Because man, that son of a bitch was not looking down.

The only thing I've seen recently to compare in impact and craftsmanship is A History Of Violence--and honestly, I think Brokeback Mountain is the better film, because there are false notes in HoV, and I really can't think of any in the present film. Before that, the last film that left me this profoundly thoughtful was The Cooler, which I actually saw in theatres, so that tells you how long ago that was.

Comments

There's no gloss of honey over these characters: they do what they do because it's what people do, and sometimes it's nobe, and sometimes it's not very nice. These are not self-aware, alienated, posturing characters; they are people who don't always understand their own motives.

Right on. That is why I so like this film. It's just a story, like my story or your story or any real story; maybe a fictional story, but with characters who could be me or the mailman or the bus driver. It's about people trying to live the lives they've been given as best they can.

Yes. And it doesn't feel the need to do that annoying twee genre/massmarket "The characters must all be sympathetic at all times" crap. But they're not such assholes you find yourself actively wishing they would get hit by a truck.

You have to forgive them a little for the movie to progress, but that's okay, because they have to forgive themselves and each other, too.
Precisely. Ah, I love the way you put these things. (And did you see what I meant about the porn 'stache?)

Also, did you see this bit of nonsense from the Today Show reviewer?
It's a bad stache. And those are some bad sideburns Ledger has too. But man, it's the seventies.

And huh. Gene Shalit. :-P
Shalit is an ass and always has been
You are so like my favorite person this week. Just saying. *g*
Oh yeah? What else have I done to deserve it? :)
The comment on the mailing list that I responded to, and something you said in chat the other night that had me nodding enthusiastically, though I know you can't hear my head rattle over the Internet and now I can't remember what the heck had me going "Right on!"

You're having an apt week. *g*

Aha.

Well, maybe the fact that I'm on break, not running around like a stressed-out lunatic and actually have time to form and express a coherent though properly may have helped :)
;-)
I knew a guy like that in college, but it was cuter on him.
Speaking of wishing characters would be hit by a truck, when my husband and I were discussing the new Pride & Prejudice, which we finally saw this week. For the first third, we were not "enjoying" the film, and after the fact, we considered that it was because of Mr Collins, who one does wish would fall under a cart. His presence made the film hurt our brains, but he is, of course, necessary to the narrative and the story couldn't happen without him. So when we realised that our agony was because of the character, we relaxed more into the story.

Thanks

I'll go see it now. The trailers were a little too well-muscled and well-lit if you know what I mean, so I was afraid hollywood had gotten to it a bit. Glad to hear otherwise.

Re: Thanks

Oh, God. Heath Ledger is just agonizing to watch. You can see Ennis swallowing everything. All of it. All the words, all the emotions, all the poison, all the pain.

I had no idea the man could act.

...also, it's funny as hell in between the ARGH! Which I appreciated.

Re: Thanks

I had no idea the man could act.

My reaction exactly. He was dead on.

Re: Thanks

I kept thinking, fuck, I *know* this guy.
No, not easy. And that scene you have iconized was really touching.

What's that font, by the way?
I loff it. Thank you.

Manohla Dargis on Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhall in Brokeback Mountain

"If Heath Ledger has attracted so much attention for his performance in "Brokeback Mountain" it's partly because he has finally made good on his early overhyped promise and partly because his character in Ang Lee's romantic tragedy, Ennis Del Mar, represents a kind of impacted masculinity that a lot of us recognize: I don't know a single straight woman who hasn't been involved with a man as emotionally thwarted as Ennis, the man who can't tell you how he feels because he may not honestly know. And because the film is, in many respects, about how difficult it is to live in a culture that punishes men who give the appearance of being too soft, too weak and too feminine, I imagine that a lot of men, gay and straight, recognize Ennis, too.

"Unlike Ennis, Jake Gyllenhaal's doe-eyed Jack Twist wears desire as openly as pain. Without his sensitive performance, without his ache and yearning, "Brokeback Mountain" wouldn't work half as well as it does. The beauty of the performance is fully evident in the scene in which the older Jack remembers when Ennis gently wrapped his arms around him during the men's first summer together. It's a devastating moment both because it juxtaposes the men's idyllic past with their difficult present, and because it reminds us of how memories live inside us as promises, rebukes and ghosts. When the scene returns to the present, you see in this man's face a lifetime of hope blur together with a lifetime of disappointment, as well as the beginning of the lovers' end."

Re: Manohla Dargis on Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhall in Brokeback Mountain

Very apt quote. Thank you.
What you're saying sounds a bit like what the Radio 5Live critics said yesterday, which is yet more motivation for me to see this flick today. They also mentioned how they understand why Ang Lee become upset when people refer to it simply as the 'gay cowboy' film.
Hello.

May I befriend you and chip in occasionally with comments? I need to wake up my brain and your blog was highly recommended by another reader.

Thanks

Natalie
Absolutely. Come on in, pull up a chair. Drinks in the fridge, snacks in the kitchen, the dogd sre friendly but a little pushy about love.
I keep thinking that a weekend-or-so's acquaintance with dogs not unlike yours might be just what my Mighty Ajax needs to settle his shit DOWN a little. Manners taught in canine idiom, as it were, combined with enough body mass to be able to laugh at his little frantically-violent fits and just sit on him till he's ready to be civil again.

Now, who do I know around here with dogs the size of horses? Hmm.
The thing with the giant dogges is that they generally react to small aggressive dogs with long-suffering tolerance, so they're not real good for discipline. I've seen a chihauhau literally hanging off my mastiff's jowls, while the mastiff just looked at me like, "Would you remove that, please?"
I think you've just convinced me that I should go see this movie... Thanks. :)