Brokeback Mountain by Ang Lee
The history of cinematography is filled with the numerous examples of the motion pictures, which leave a great impression (regardless of if it is positive or negative). Being directed by Ang Lee, the 2005 movie, Brokeback Mountain, is one of the most prominent films of the year. In fact, the movie Brokeback Mountain focuses on the approach of difference and ambiguity. The essential message the director of the movie sends is that love and friendship of two people is perceived by them as the ones which are deprived of such categories as gender, age, etc. However, the other people do not recognize this kind of difference, they do not confirm it to be positive, and, as a consequence, tend to produce a negative impact on the relations. The main conflict of the film consists in sexual orientation perception by two essential groups of the characters: by the main heroes and by the opposed ordinary other people.
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The mood and the meaning of the movie are encoded in the movies title. Directly represented Brokeback Mountain has a non-standard form, which is especially noticeable when the director shows a panoramic picture, where there are other mountains of standard shapes next to the Brokeback Mountain depicted. In other words, the very films title determines the uniqueness of the movie and confirms that the picture is not going to be a usual one. Furthermore, the very this mountain becomes a kind of the character since it means extremely much for the main characters.
The main characters in action are two cowboys from the state of Wyoming: Ennis Del Mar (played by Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (performed by Jake Gyllenhaal). In fact, they are depicted as sexual subjects. The film, which is based on the love story of the cowboys-gays, won the Venice Festival, and received the prestigious Golden Globe Award in four categories as it was recognized as the best film of the British Film Academy (BAFTA). Besides, the Brokeback Mountain film had eight nominations for the Oscar, and won three of them. This event caused a wide resonance in the press, since in fact this is the first film about love between men that received many nominations for Oscar award. It means that the movie appeared to be resonating and caused numerous heated debates around it. This very fact also made its contribution to the popularity it gained all over the world.
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The love story of two cowboys, who grazed the sheep at Brokeback Mountain, had sexual intercourse in a tent next to the mountain, and who felt good together. They had to part: they lived separately; both got married and had children afterwards. It seemed that they had forgotten about what had happened once, but then they met, and their love broke out with renewed vigor. The movies producers successfully show that Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist were able to carry their love through life, harnessing themselves to the hope and illusion of the soonest possibility of happiness. Acquainted very young when hiring for a ranch, the two cowboys did not forget about each other after a working season. The wedding and the birth of children also did not disturb their feelings. However, as the movie shows, the homosexual sexual intercourse among the two cowboys is severely punished. Hence, the Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist can not tell anyone about their feelings and are obliged to hide them from the other peoples eyes. For the same reason, they can not live together and spend time next to each other as long as they want. The unexpected death of Jack at the end of the film is perceived as a blow by Ennis. Herein, the authors of the motion picture show how his whole life becomes one big memory of past happiness Ennis and Jack used to have next to the Brokeback Mountain. In such a way, Ang Lee succeeded to create a beautiful and sad history of love between two people, for some fatal mistake of nature that were of the same sex. However, this sadness does not come immediately. This is even regardless of the fact that when viewing, even when titles are already started, there are no special feelings: they need to take time to appear. In several days, again and again scrolling in the memory the footage of the Brokeback Mountain a viewer begins to feel sad that true love ended exactly like this, and understands that sexual orientation does not really matter in true love. Herein, a particular role is played by the soundtrack of the movie by Gustavo Santaolalla. On the one hand, it coincides with the cowboy times of the US and is frequently harsh similarly to the cowboys spirit; on the other hand, however, the music is extremely tender similarly to the beautiful landscapes depicted and romantic relations between Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist. Hence, the music creates additional feeling of sadness, happiness, and beauty lumped together.
A particular attention should be drawn to the conflict representation in the plot of the movie. Herein, a viewer can observe two essential conflicts: the internal and external ones. The first is the conflict which takes place within the main characters separately. Performing the same-sex love and sexual intercourse, they cannot approve of their sexual orientation but continue being engaged in romantic relations. On the other hand, there is an external conflict, which appears between the two characters and the society. In this case, the society is opposed to the characters and does not approve of the same sex love they have and resists to its spread. Firstly, Jack is refused to be employed for the same farm he used to work for previously. Secondly, when Ennis gets divorced with his wife, the judge takes into account the fact that he is a homosexual and orders to leave the children with their mother. These instances are numerous in the movie and they confirm the external conflict.
The film runs for more than two hours. Certainly, it can not be said that it is too tight, but it is rather boring in places. However, the lack of dynamic events in the film is more than offset by very beautiful species of nature, animals and beautiful music. Also, the scenes of nature, beautiful and calm music as well as the cowboys costumes of the actors help a viewer become absorbed by the cowboy culture, and the US history of the 1960s. It means that it is quite rightly that this film was nominated for camera work and received an Oscar for musical design.
The story told in the film would be impossible to be showed in such a way, if the place of one of the cowboys was a girl. The whole film revolves around and serves as a representation of the two mens relationship to each other, the attitude of other people towards them, and around the fact that their relationship is not accepted in society. In other words, the conflicts which appear between the two characters and the society (their employer, their wives, their parents, etc.) show how the society of the year 1963 perceived homosexuality and how the homophobia was manifested. Each of the moments of the main characters acquaintance, work, separation, again meeting are amazingly beaten and shown. The film director, Ang Lee, weaves into the narrative of the new characters and heroes, showing them sometimes from the extremely unexpected sides.
The theme chosen by the director is incredibly difficult to disclose and show. Nevertheless, Ang Lee succeeded. Certainly, to watch how the two men hug and kiss is pretty hard and disgusting for the prejudiced viewers; however such moments are few, they were as if intentionally avoided. Again, this is a male point of view probably, the female audience would look at it with a greater calm. Thus, it is possible to claim that Ang Lee chose an unconventional and scandalous theme, but he did not shoot the film about it only. It is possible to point to the fact that the film is about loneliness and the ways to fight against it. At first, there was indifference between the main characters, then, the joint work appeared, and then, as a consequence, friendship arose. It can not be stated that something broke in friendship, then. When watching the film, it is better to conclude that it rather grew into something new. It means that the other wanted to show that loneliness is not when there is no one around. Oppositely, there can be thousands of people around, but a person would still be alone in the soul. At the same time, the two cowboys are striving not to be alone, and at the same time they are trying to distance themselves from everyone to be together. Together with the portrayal of solitude, the creator makes an attempt to respond to the question of where the border between adoration and friendship is as well as where the boundary between friendship and compassion is.
A typical purpose of spectator when viewing Brokeback Mountain is not entertainment and realization of a recreational function in their pure understanding. The viewer sees the Brokeback Mountain movie as a second reality, not focusing on its essential code. Besides, herein, the main criteria for the quality of the Brokeback Mountain movie for a representative of the broad audience are not plausibility and compliance with expectations. Oppositely, the movie is characterized by dual nature, combining diachronicity and synchronicity. It does not have any need for complicated reflection, the availability of additional information and special training. Thusly, from this point of view, the film has a twofold nature. On the one hand, Brokeback Mountain serves to demythologize reality; on the other hand, it similarly to other films takes a direct part in the mythology of the socio-cultural space. The movie produced a great impact on the culture and society at the global level. Currently, a growing number of Western countries are enacting laws that oblige schools to conduct classes on combating homophobia, talk about sexual diversity, and introduce a chapter on gay culture textbooks on history and point to the historical contribution of gays and lesbians to development of the society. Finally, it is, consequently, possible to note that the film portrays a struggle with or search for individuality and identity, which are not easy within the prejudiced and biased community.
To sum up, the Brokeback Mountain movie is among those which are not recommended to the viewers, who are characterized by homophobic moods since it contains numerous scenes wherein the mens tender friendship is depicted. However, the film is a great example of how the sexual orientation-based prejudices function within the society. In general, being a romantic drama with a tragic end, Brokeback Mountain is a manifest of external conflict between two lovers and society, which stands against the things which are different from an ordinary vision.
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