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No Gay Sex Please, We're American - The Titfield Thunderbolt
Heisenberg might have stayed here
No Gay Sex Please, We're American
Unfortunately, the first time I saw a trailer for Brokeback Mountain, I mentally mis-filed it as Bareback Mountain. I'm sure Freud would have plenty to say about that, and I don't need to hear it. Anyway I'm sure a film with that title is probably being made somewhere in Eastern Europe as I write.

This film has been so hyped in the media that I didn't really know how I would feel about it. A couple of weeks ago on Balderdash and Piffle they discussed the etymology of "gay", but no-one bothered to consider the possibility that it might be an ironic label: so many repressed, miserable and tragic characters. The film gets off to a very slow start, with minimal dialogue and heavy Southern accents; the sexual relationship seems to spring from nowhere (plot-wise, that is; cinematically you can see it coming a mile off), there's denial and awkwardness, the two cowboys go their separate ways. This being 1960s rural America, they each get married and have children (or have children and get married, in the case of Jack Twist) and the years pass before their paths cross again.

The characters aren't the sharpest tools in the box - for example, you'd think snogging in an alleyway where your other half can see you if s/he looks out from the window isn't really such a good idea, gay or straight. The plot unfolds to reveal stagnation, decay, and eventual desolation. It makes me angry, but because of its probability, in a more controlled way than I might have expected. The film ends when it has nowhere else to go. Sadly, I doubt attitudes are much different in small-town America nearly 50 years on. Can't more films have an ending like Beautiful Thing?

On a not-entirely-unrelated note, I enjoyed Richard Dawkins' mini-series The Root of All Evil. I often squirm when Darwin's Rottweiler quizzes religious types on things, it's just too unpleasantly one-sided. But in this case, all apart from the Bishop of Oxford made themselves to be fools without any really judgemental tone from Dawkins. (Dawkins then went on essentially to label the Bishop as a religious class traitor for his semi-rational views, but then again, the C of E has always been a religious institution that is happy to pick and choose from, and reinterpret, its religious texts). One thing that was really missing from the discussion was any mention of eastern religions: Hinduism, Sikhism or Buddhism. I doubt there's any question where Dawkins stands theologically on these, but they were never examined or challenged.

Current Mood: political
Current Music: Kit and the Widow - Burn the Faggots

8 comments or Leave a comment
magic_wanderer From: magic_wanderer Date: January 19th, 2006 12:29 am (UTC) (Link)
I saw it - taped it for keeps, in fact - and the reason he just picked on the Abrahamic religions was that, well, no army has never walked in anger muttering the lotus prayer. Aka "pshychotic barshtard religion" in the words of Eddie Izzard being Sean Connery being Henry VIII. It was a reaction against "people using religion as an excuse to be extremely crappy to each other." That's far too many quotes. Sorry. I agree, it was particularly viscious, but I saw it as a "take this chance to go as far as possible, you'll only get these two short hours".
From: ex_kharin447 Date: January 19th, 2006 12:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
"the reason he just picked on the Abrahamic religions was that, well, no army has never walked in anger muttering the lotus prayer."

Hmm, wrong. Modern Hindu fundamentalism is not remotely benign and has lead to a considerable amount of social unrest and violence.
qatsi From: qatsi Date: January 19th, 2006 07:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Certainly Hinduism and Sikhism have militant elements - e.g. race/religious riots in Gujurat a few years ago and the assassination of Indira Gandhi.
brixtonbrood From: brixtonbrood Date: January 19th, 2006 10:52 am (UTC) (Link)

Happy endings in gay movies

Did you see ?Far From Heaven What did you think of it? I liked it a lot, but the movie I really wanted to see was what happened over the next ten years, with the protagonists moving to the big cities and discovering personal fulfilment in political action. I do realise that nothing could be more incompatible with what Tod Haynes wanted to show, but that's what I wanted to see, dammit.
qatsi From: qatsi Date: January 19th, 2006 07:43 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Happy endings in gay movies

No, that's a new one on me. Could be interesting.
From: ex_kharin447 Date: January 19th, 2006 09:04 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Happy endings in gay movies

Not seen it either, though I have heard of it. I thought most of the plot tended to revolve around race rather than sexuality though?
brixtonbrood From: brixtonbrood Date: January 19th, 2006 09:38 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Happy endings in gay movies

Julianne Moore is married to Dennis Quaid, who is gay; partly as a result of this she falls in love with Dennis Haybert the (black) gardener. Both issues reach a crisis and it all ends in a melancholy (but beautifully shot) way (actually I remember it as being melancholy (but beautifully shot) all the way through). It's seen mostly from her perspective, but with sympathy for the husband as you'd expect - she's saintly, he's "troubled" in the manner of the dramatic cliches of the time. The resolution of both "issues" made me just want to yell, roll on the sixties, show me what would happen if you moved these stylised (but beautifully lit) victims into an environment where they could fight for their rights to be who they were without apologies. Probably not an appropriate response, as the director was aiming for a stylistic and thematic homage to Douglas Sirk and the Women's Movies of the fifties, rather than a political treatise AFAIK. Worth seeing I'd say, if you're interested in cinema per se then you won't consider it a waste of time even if you hate it.
From: ex_kharin447 Date: January 19th, 2006 10:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Happy endings in gay movies

Thanks, I shall have to look out for it.
8 comments or Leave a comment