yesterday mindemoya and i finally went to see brokeback mountain. of course, it’s been absolutely impossible not to hear about the movie, and of course everyone thinks it’s great.
so my expectations were positive but a bit on the lukewarm side. it seemed that i was supposed to like it, which doesn’t really incline me favourably (remember how i feel about prompts?) it reminds me of back in the sixties, when people thought george harrison was the best guitar player around – but that was because he was part of the beatles and everyone know that beatles are good. (nothing against george harrison but there really wasn’t anything special about his guitar playing, not when there were people like jimi hendrix and baden powell and andres segovia around).
but my benevolently lukewarm feelings changed to, oh! wow! pretty much the second the movie started. i loved the photography, the scenery, the acting, the slowness of the movie. and most of all, i loved the story. it kind of reminded me of dr. zhivago, anna karenina or romeo and juliet – a bittersweet story of an impossible love.
most of all, in its quietness it made me think of all the people in the world who were and in so many places of the world still are not allowed to love who they love.
just think about it. even the sentence sounds crazy: “not allowed to love who they love”. it doesn’t make any sense, does it? i guess that’s what got to me, this jarring, this unbearable tension between needing to love and be with the person one desires, and not being able to because of the terror and isolation that would almost certainly come with it. gay and lesbian couples in the middle east, mixed-race couples in south africa before mandela, a mormon girl in utah loving a catholic boy – and there’s lots more “bad” combinations.
and think about all the mundane, everyday things. can you imagine falling in love with someone and not being able to tell your friends about it? always having to keep it secret, never being able to tell your story? god, that would kill me. i guess they don’t call it “the love that dare not speak its name” for nothing.
i know, if you’re queer, maybe you’re rolling your eyes right now, irritated at one more person who needed to see brokeback mountain to have their eyes opened. and it’s true – even though i knew the story of homosexuality before i saw this movie, and was familiar with many of the sad and difficulty nuances of living in a homophobic world, it did take watching it to open not only my eyes and mind but to give me an education that apparently hadn’t quite reached my heart yet. so thanks, jack and ennis.
and thanks, many thanks, that we live in a country like canada, where these problems are minimal compared to other countries. may it remain so.
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