Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Brokeback Mountain : Ang Lee signs a masterpiece

 photo © Copyright 2006 BSLB

It has been a long time since a film on such a particular but—oh so universal—theme has struck a chord that resonates so deeply with contemporary society. Although the short story by Annie Proulx takes place between 1960 and 1980, the events and characters it depicts are relevant to us today—because they are timeless and universal. We can only hope that this splendid film earns the worldwide success it so richly deserves.
The beauty of Wyoming landscapes, set against the bleak charm of small-town rural America in the 60s, forms the dreamy backdrop of this timeless story of thwarted love (in fact the film was made in Alberta Canada). Fans of Wim Wenders will appreciate.
America, as it exists in our dreams and phantasms! Lovers of America are well-served by this film, but that does not mean the United States is spared: the director’s approach is factual, direct and real. No complacencies, no irrelevancies, straight to the point. The positive along with the negative, like life itself.
The camera disappears to allow your senses to be absorbed by the experience: everything seems so near, so very near. Yet the camera keeps its distance so that you can breathe and keep your distance, for what you are about to see and experience from close up is strong and dense and powerful.
Even though twenty years go by in the film, the dramatic progression is handled with deft mastery by the director. Ang Lee makes us participate with all our heart in the story of these two cowboys in love, guiding us patiently, gradually, without insisting. Such self-restraint is not something you acquire by an act of will; it is something you know from within, by intuition.
The rough strains of a traditional guitar accompany the story. A sincere, heart-rending melody goes straight to the soul and chokes you up at the right moments, ensuring that you feel at one with the characters and their pain.
All the actors give flawless performances, striking in their humanity and complexity. Of course no role is ever easy because all roles are composite, fragile, and complex. The fragile, taciturn character of Ennis del Mar, played by Heath Ledger, has rightfully won accolades, but Jake Gyllenhaal in the role of Jack Twist—subtle, delicate and prudent—is no less noteworthy. Without them the film could never have succeeded in overcoming the potential pitfalls and mistakes that lay in its path.
Both men serve the God of love admirably. And they serve him in a spirit of universal love even though theirs is a very particular love, that of one man for another, Bravo! My hat goes off to these cowboys with their hats stuck gallantly on their heads!
Handsome, charming, simple in their jeans and boots. Secret, subtle, strong and tender as they pass through all the disorders of the heart---for the better if only society would let them. Tragic in their emotions and their fears, in their sorrow and their despair. We feel with them-- in all the unbearable, unending and petrifying reality of their pain.
We despair of finding a balm that would soothe them. But the heart understands more quickly than the mind. What is said in this film is terribly true, terribly accurate and terribly contemporary: the hateful rejection of difference, the power of death that haunts you always, the life that is forbidden you, until you want to die.
Few are those who will emerge unscathed from watching this profound film. Those who do have their work cut out for them—no doubt for several lives. The rest of us will feel more human, less alone and more loving of one another.

January 2006
Bruno-Stéphane © Copyright 2006
Thanks to/Merci à Michael, a friend of the franco-american friendship/un ami de l’amitié franco-américaine

1 comment:

Vincent said...

J'aurais aimé pouvoir écrire un tel texte — surtout en anglais. J'en partage chaque ligne…