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Firstly, there is the film, secondly, there is the fact that the film did not win the Best Movie Oscar 2006, thirdly, there are the actors. It seems necessary to distinguish the three, because it appears to me that at the moment people tend to talk only about the second aspect. While we (the Europeans) usually do not hold the Oscars in such high esteem and would prefer to see our favourite films to win a Palme d’Or or at least a Golden Bear, this quality control attitude is completely forgotten once February is there and the race for Academy Award trophies culminates.

Never mind most of the Academy members never go to the movies, never mind no more than 15 per cent of them have ever appeared in a film of more than average quality, and never mind that these people (like everybody) have a memory that stretches exactly to the last big billboard ad or to the little present that was in the mail last week. Oscar is currency, and even those films who would deny having anything to do with currency long for it. And Brokeback did not get the one that everybody expected.

Why did everybody expect it? Not because of the undeniable quality of the movie, but because of the undeniable quality of the movie plus the fact that it was perceived to be somehow scandalous to give the award to a movie about gay cowboys. Surprisingly, the Academy members appear to be rather indifferent about the latter fact, and how can you find any homo-erotic story scandalous if you are an actor living in L.A., as the majority of Academy members. Brokeback Mountain is a very good film about a desperate love story without a happy ending. I don’t like films too much where the love story is all there is, but if the love fails, that’s usually something of an advantage with respect to drama.

That’s why I liked the film a lot. Not as much as I liked most previous films of the same director (does not mean much, as most of his previous films are just hilariously good), and not as much as other films I have seen this last year. One of the films I’ve seen last years which grabbed me more was “Crash” – and I wonder why the mere fact that for some people’s taste, “Crash”‘s story is more appealing, the camera more aggressive, the script more interesting, the dialogues more intelligent, the direction more thrilling and the cast more exciting – why this fact is so intensively ignored in all the reviews that keep on bitching about a homophobic Hollywood mafia…

Never mind: Brokeback Mountain is touching in many ways, in particular when it comes to the lack of ability to articulate one’s feelings, and the everyday solitude man (and woman) can experience in the own artificial shelter called a family – if the family is the wrong one. In adorable consequence, Ang Lee rejects his protagonists the way out of misery. If you are unable to choose your side, he seems to tell them, you deserve every calamity you can possibly get. You have to go down the same ugly path as every drug junkie, because being a lover junkie is by no means better. You will start lying to your wife, even though you must know she will know the truth. You will lie to yourself even though admitting the truth about whom you love would be the first step to opening the door onto the life that you need for survival. But you keep on lying and betraying. Because that’s the way it has always been. And if you can’t change it, you have to stand it. Great cinema. Excellent photography. Beautiful acting.
German review: http://www.schnitt.de/filme/artikel/brokeback_mountain.shtml

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/brokeback_mountain/?search=brokeback 

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One Comment

  1. Post Scriptum: it is getting more embarassing by the day. Now there are even one page ads in Variety about the wrongdoing of the Academy that did not share the opinion of Brokeback Oscar supporters… see eg http://www.spiegel.de/kultur/kino/0,1518,405713,00.html (in German) or http://www.gay.com/news/article.html?2006/03/09/4 . And the ad itself is here: http://davecullen.com/brokebackmountain/img/ad-final.jpg


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