Sunday, January 08, 2006

Thoughts on Brokeback

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On Friday, Brokeback Mountain finally appeared in Greensboro movie theaters. I went to see the film with my one of my roommates and a friend. After all the hype and buzz I had to see what this film was all about for myself. Besides the fact that the film was wonderfully made and was a brilliant piece of cinematic art, the film also carried feeling and a message. Numerous times during the film I held back tears. There were also numerous times where I sat thinking, "How stupid can people be?" The film, a story of true love between two men who never identified as "gay", speaks to the fact that love itself has no labels and it can never be put into finely ordered categories. But there is also more to this film. This film carries with it the possibility to open up more areas of discussion in America. It carries with it the possibility that people who have never been open or accepting of gays before might come closer to, at least, tolerance. The story of Ennis and Jack and the events of their lives speak millions of words our minds could never conjure and that only our hearts can understand. Below is part of an editorial written by James Lopata of In Newsweekly. I agree with what he has written about Brokeback Mountain... I think any person who has seen Brokeback would agree with him also:
A 'Mountain' of silence January 4, 2006 The far right has been noticeably silent in the discussion surrounding "Brokeback Mountain." Some conservatives have defended that posture by citing lessons they learned from over-blowing past controversies like SpongeBob SquarePants and Tinky Winky. 'If Christians protest too loudly, they can end up making the mistake of calling attention to a movie that otherwise may not do very well at the box office," said Dick Rolfe of the Dove Foundation, a group that supports conservative filmmaking, to the Associated Press. 'We have to be very careful not to use our anger strategies to a point where they boomerang on us." But there is more to the silence than mere discipline. It speaks to something deeper going on in this film. Conservatives have to respond to the silence in the film itself. This is a movie which never once mentions the words "gay" or "homosexual." The only literal reference to a same-sex attraction orientation is in the negative: "I ain't no queer," says Heath Ledger's character Ennis after their first round of sex. Not only is there practically no dialogue about homosexuality in this movie, there's practically no dialogue, period. And yet how incredibly much is said in those silences? (section cut) The great truth of "Brokeback Mountain" centers not on the emotional truth of Ennis and Jack's love for each other - that extraordinary attraction is the constant and unchanging core of the story. Great movies are not made from that which is unchanging. Great films take powerful truths - like love - and smash them against other powerful truths - like homophobia - and see what changes. What changes - in this film's Wyoming and Texas - are families. And not for the better. Children are left in broken homes and to be raised by a widowed mother. Without any high-blown rhetoric (like we got in the whole Ford controversy) at all, "Brokeback Mountain" overwhelmingly demonstrates how anti-gay attitudes are, in no uncertain terms, anti-family. That this truth is so clearly illustrated without words makes it virtually impossible for the far right to refute. In order to do so, it would have to conceive, write and produce a film of equal caliber about the force of love in an ex-gay relationship. But it can't, because great film demands truth. And there is no truth there. The far right can pontificate and moralize all it wants, but in the face of the natural power of love, the only truthful response it can give is a deafening silence.
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