Saturday, December 17, 2005


Brokeback Mountain feature/review

Our local alt-weekly movie reviewer is very good, although he has been quite controversial over the years. Maybe that's why he's so good. In his three-page review and analysis of Brokeback Mountain, he makes a connection explicit that had only occurred to me subconsciously:
During the height of what history will hopefully acknowledge as the new era of McCarthyism—when homosexuality and terrorism walk hand-in-hand much as desegregation and communism did five decades ago—there is a queer revolution going on. This new battle of gay liberation, building on the foundations laid in the aftermath of Stonewall, seeks to do more than recoup the losses incurred in recent years. What is going here is a complex issue—clouded under the rhetoric of same-sex marriage and eternal damnation—that is, quite plainly and simply, a matter of civil rights. Few people want to call it that, as if the acknowledgement of such somehow humanizes lesbians and gays in a manner they don't deserve. But the truth is that queers—much like blacks in the early part of the 20th century—are not seen as human beings.
David Walker is an African-American man, which is only important, I think, when we consider whether he has the standing to equate the civil rights movement of the fifties and sixties with today's gay rights movement. (Especially considering the denouncement of same by some African-American leaders.)
Sidney Poitier slapped a white man...and in one of the most revolutionary acts committed to film, he was not made to pay for his sin. Looking back, it is difficult for some to understand the artistic and sociopolitical significance to be found in a single action that occurred in director Norman Jewison's 1967 film In the Heat of the Night, which came along during the height of the civil-rights movement. But when added into the cinematic mix of the film and the complexities of where America was at that place and time, Virgil Tibbs' actions in a small Mississippi town meant something very significant. It became something important—the slap heard 'round the world...

...the explosion of pent-up sexual desire and repression between Jack and Ennis, equal parts mountain brawl and synergistic lovemaking, is likely to become something very significant. For lack of a better term, it will be the fuck heard 'round the world...

...if people can see past the hyperbole and whatever controversy may surround it, they will see Brokeback Mountain for what it is: a brilliant love story that promises to be among the most revolutionary films in years.

Read the whole thing.