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Tag Archives: ang lee
Life of Pi (Ang Lee, 2012)
Ang Lee’s Life of Pi is one of the most visually beautiful movies I have seen. So was his Brokeback Mountain. But here’s the thing: the two films are beautiful in totally different ways. Lee is such a strong and versatile director that he seemingly reinvents himself for each movie; you could love every one of his movies but still not consider him as your favourite director, because he’s like a different one each time.
Review – Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee, 2005)
The first thing to get out of the way about Ang Lee’s wonderful Brokeback Mountain is this: it isn’t controversial. I don’t mean that there’s no controversy surrounding it, because unfortunately there is, but the film itself makes no point that should be contentious. It’s a love story that happens to be about two men in 1960s Wyoming, but it isn’t a political tract. Prejudice against homosexuals is a historical circumstance that the film acknowledges, but it’s not really the primary subject matter: it serves much the same plot function that the taboo of a Montague courting a Capulet did in Romeo and Juliet. The film doesn’t treat homosexuality as sensational or taboo; it isn’t overtly political; no politics are preached; and it doesn’t demonise any group or person. The controversy about the film arises purely from the prejudice audiences bring to it: those who have a problem with homosexuality will have a problem with Brokeback Mountain, but nobody else will. Indeed, as Phillipa Hawker pointed out in her review for The Age, it is perhaps the old-fashioned nature of the film that has actually most disturbed conservatives and homophobes. If Lee had treated his material as shocking, it would probably have passed with less comment. Instead, the film simply takes acceptance of its subject matter as a given, and aims clearly at mainstream audiences.
It’s really too soon to be editorialising on Brokeback Mountain again – particularly as I haven’t seen it and probably won’t have a chance to review it this weekend. There almost isn’t any point arguing about this – from what I can gather, the film doesn’t seem to say anything terribly controversial: when Fred Nile decries it, he’s really just suggesting that he thinks a film about gay cowboys shouldn’t exist, and if someone’s that far gone there’s not really much arguing that you can do with them. So I should just move on.
I haven’t seen Brokeback Mountain, but I’m already glad it won the Golden Globe for Best Drama. Why? Because it will upset people such as the conservative politician Fred Nile, who in this story on (Australian) ABC radio spoke out against the film.
But he has our interests at heart: he’s trying to spare us from confusion. To quote from the ABC’s story:
FRED NILE: I think it’s causing a great confusion to have two homosexual cowboys after all the popularity of the cowboy theme in American themes [sic].