And here I was thinking everything was near-perfect in this perfect Romeo-Juliet studded world when suddenly last night, thank you illegal, pirated CD dealers and my Cable Distributors, I saw this am-a-zing flick. Brokeback Mountain. And did it ever break the mould. I was getting pretty sick of the chick flicks people generally have in mind for me, just because I once professed a love for Casablanca, Singin' In the Rain, & Pride and Prejudice (the BBC version with Colin Firth in it). They completely overlooked my love for Polanski's Macbeth, Kurosawa's Rashomon, Renoir's The Rules of the Game and American Beauty. Brokeback Mountain made me feel better after a long time.
The story is simple… boy meets boy, boy loves boy, and then… boy leaves and finds other pleasures of life… like riding of the other kind. For those who wanted the story, go watch it I say. It will, perhaps, induce a better response for those whom you call ‘homos’, or as Dad called it ‘Poduwa’ (that’s Bengali for you-know-what). What did the film signify to me?? It signified the arrival of a new trend, of the be-sympathetic-to-gays-they’re-human trend. It has been going on for the last few years… starting from the response of Boys Don’t Cry, leading to Monster and continuing still to my topic. I can say that the best film I have seen on this particular topic till date is Robin Williams-Nathan Lane film, The Birdcage, adapted from the French La Cage Aux Follies. The screenplay did not sympathize with the subject matter of cross-dressing, homosexual relationships, or drag queens. It made no apologies in being who you were, and showed how to be proud of oneself. In some ways, when in the end, Robin Williams brings Nathan Lane in front of Gene Hackman and says, “This is my wife.” with pride ringing in his voice, that is when I suddenly feel stupid tears in my jaded eyes.
In Brokeback Mountain, what struck me was Heath Ledger. He has matured a LOT since those days of chick flicks like Ten Things I Hate about You, The Patriot and A Knight’s Tale. I realized his capabilities as an actor in Halle Berry Oscared Monster’s Ball where he played Billy Bob Thornton’s gay son. Here, in Brokeback Mountain, he is beautiful. That is the sole expression I have for him. The encounter he has with his partner, Jake Gyllelhaal is short, but notable is the tasteful way Ang Lee handles the passionate and tender scene. Ang Lee is someone whom I respected in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but he is simply too true in his method of handling. There is a scene where Heath Ledger, the ranch hand, is lonely, and miserable… he misses his partner (and yes I forgot the name of Jake Gyllelhaal in the movie cause I was busy looking at Heath’s abs… perfection!!)… He inhales the scent of his partner from this jeans shirt the partner used to wear. What I saw was the way Heath Ledger’s eyes registered the longing and the acknowledgement of the loss simultaneously. I am being poetic, but his expression was priceless. There was something else in there perhaps… a smidgen of angst, maybe?? Or was that my eyes’ mistake??
In the end, I would like to point out two things. Brokeback Mountain got an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Director, which is a great achievement for Ang Lee, as he is probably the first Asian director to get an Oscar for a film (I missed the Academy Awards, and saw only the end of it). I hope it would be Shekhar Kapoor’s turn soon. He was highly underrated for Elizabeth. Incidentally, Crash got the Oscar for Best Film.
Can you hear the heart break?? CRASH!!!