Broke Back Mountain
The 78th Annual Oscar Awards on the 5th of March, 2006, was more of a gay gathering than usual with the assembling of a large number of homosexuals, as their favourite movie “Broke Back Mountain” had been nominated for the Oscar Awards . This movie depicts the enduring love affair between two cowboys and Ang Lee, the director of the film made a masterpiece of a movie that not only handles the seemingly impossible feat of mainstreaming a gay romance, but is also devoid of soppy sentimentality. This movie is a screen adaptation of a Pulitzer Prize-winning short story by Annie Proulx.
This story is set in the 1960s and ps a two decade relationship between Ennis Del Mar played by Heath Ledger and Jack Twist played by Jake Gyllenhaal. An initial friendship culminates in a homosexual relationship. At first they keep denying their attraction for each other by making statements like “This is a one shot thing we got going on here,”(Ennis,) “you know I’m not queer. ” “Me neither,” (Jack). However, they continue to indulge in this and one of them, Heath, returns to his fiancee, although the other, Jack, is reluctant to abandon the relationship.
Ennis marries Alma played by Michelle Williams, has two daughters and embarks on a regular life and Jack eventually meets and marries a Texan cowgirl Lureen played by Anne Hathaway and has a son. After four years Ennis and Jack meet again and their reunion is and is accidentally witnessed by Ennis’s wife, who remains silent about the whole episode. This begins their frequent respite from their heterosexual lives and they get together two or three times a year by retreating into the majestic mountains to live with each other.
This continues for 16 years and their relationship remains unchanged, despite Ennis’s divorce from Alma. In the Western genre homoeroticism has always been predominant and the role of women within the genre has either been as harpies, whores or smokescreens who maintain the heterosexuality of its protagonists. The director could have without effort transformed the wives of these cowboys into disagreeable wives who would have taken their homosexual husbands to task for their unnatural ways, but the wives are depicted as fully rounded characters that would have shown heaven on earth to a heterosexual husband.
This story concerns itself not only with the homosexual relationship between the men and the difficulties that this relation places them in but more importantly it focuses on the enormous strain and disappointment that their unfortunate wives have to put up with. The story is set in Wyoming, which has a culture of cowboys, and where cowboys and herders were considered to be the last bastion of real men left in a world which was becoming increasingly depleted of honour and morals.
The emotional impact on discovering that their husbands were unfaithful to them and also that they were indulging in sodomy produces a devastating effect on them. Eroticism has always been accorded a larger than life image by Hollywood and the erotic thriller was a popular genre in the 1980s, with movies like Body Heat, The Big Easy, Sea of Love, Fatal Attraction, and 9 ? Weeks turning out to be great successes. In 1993 Basic Instinct was released in this genre, but it proved to be the last of successful movies in this variety.
Such movies definitely manage to denigrate heterosexuality and by implication women. For example, Big Love, the new HBO drama about polygamy, promotes unfair views regarding women such as that it takes three women to satisfy one man, while one third of a man is enough for each woman. These women are shown to be nagging wives who want more sex than their husband can provide and the end result is a heterosexual nightmare of domestic and sexual obligations rather than the expected male fantasy. The aim of these shows is to promote and praise gay marriage.
What’s really galling is that women, like the women in Broke back Mountain are deemed to be fit for nothing better than breeding and are not considered to be human beings, who deserve respect and love. The heterosexual men in this movie are shown in an equally poor light, ranging from Randy Quaid’s, the employer of these homosexual cowboys, embodiment of repressed intolerance to Graham Beckel as Jack Twist’s emasculating father-in-law. This movie makes an astonishing statement that the only honourable and masculine men are the gay ones.
Ennis’s wife Alma remarries a loving husband who better provides for her needs, true to form he is portrayed as meek and almost effeminate. The lot of women is terrible and the encouragement of customs that have been identified as depravity by the Good Book and also in the Holy Texts of other religions, speaks volumes for the moral depravity that has befallen us under the guise of freedom. Freedom is good, freedom is great, freedom is our birthright but not if half the population, namely the women are going to be denigrated and treated in a derogatory manner.