As this blog’s title suggests, I hold a cherished space in my heart for Brokeback Mountain, Ang Lee’s 2005 masterpiece. I have written extensively about the film, discussing the positives (its beauty, simplicity, performances, and relative transgression of film-going audiences’ expectations) and negatives (the relatively poor translation of eroticism from short story to screenplay, an over-reliance on heteronormative tropes).
I often sense some hesitation on the part of my queer friends and colleagues when I explain that Brokeback is my favorite film. I imagine that it’s because it is so mainstream and, some would argue, hetero. Perhaps more frustrating, I am too often labeled as simply “the gay guy” or “the guy who loves gay movies” by straight people I encounter. Those things are obviously true, but my love for this film is not contained by those words.
“It hit me at just the right time,” is a refrain I use over and over when attempting to sum up my attitude about the unconventional and undefinable story of Ennis del Mar and Jack Twist. I wrote about this time in my life in my senior project, the one I have mentioned here before, about Vito Russo and the evolution of queer representation in film. It was important for me to find the ways in which Vito and I could connect, and one of them was through a shared lifelong passion for the stories we see on screen, and the ways they relate to our own lives at that moment.
I would like to use the anecdote I wrote as a point of connection with my readers as well. Perhaps it will explain a little better the ways I view films and just how meaningful they can be for me.