CAIRO: Brokeback Mountain is an emotional, heartbreaking movie about two men who fall deeply in love with each other. Heath Ledger stars as Ennis Del Mar, a young cowboy, whose parents passed when he was a child. He ended up being raised by his siblings. The movie begins in Wyoming in 1963, when Ennis finds work tending sheep on a mountainside and meets his co-worker, a rodeo cowboy, Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal).
The job is a two-man operation and, eventually, after a few days on the mountain have passed and a little whiskey is drunk, the men have sex in their tent. Their feelings for each other linger on after their job is done, although Ennis returns to marry his long-time sweetheart Alma (Michelle Williams) and eventually Jack marries a wealthy rodeo rider Lureen Newsome (Anne Hathaway).
Their lives settle down in a routine whereby they meet on “fishing trips every so often. Jack is a little more willing to accept the fact that he is gay and believes that someday Ennis will agree to buy a ranch and settle down with him.
Director Ang Lee takes his time developing each character and manages to leave you with an instinctive feeling of sympathy for them. Rodrigo Prieto s photography is gripping, capturing the vast mountains and emphasizing the feeling of loneliness and isolation. The movie has a powerful ending which leaves you in tears.
I know a lot of readers may be wondering why I chose to review a movie which isn’t even airing in theaters across Egypt. Frankly speaking, that is the precise reason I chose to do so. It is clear why Egyptian theaters do not flinch at the thought of airing violence or meaningless romantic comedies that touch on two extremes, yet sad that a deep and tragic love story was possibly not even a contender to hit our big screens.
We all have reasons to visit the cinema, whether it’s to experience a great story, admire remarkable cinematography, witness breakthrough directing and acting, or merely for a few hours away from the hustle and bustle of life.
However, no one leaves a movie they have watched without feeling a specific emotion, be it sadness, anger, despair, happiness, or indifference. The point is, they do not only reflect on the movie, but in many cases, after watching a compelling movie, are influenced by it.
So my question is this: why prohibit a love story about two people (notice I am not specifying gender here) who are dealing with battles that all of us face at some point in our lives? Not only do Ennis and Jack face these battles, they deal with fear, choice, pain, love, departure . the point is they deal with occurrences that arise in our everyday lives, the movie just chooses to portray these sentiments between two men.
It would be wrong to look at this movie as a “gay cowboy movie. Prejudice and preconceived notions suspended, this is a movie about the struggle of homosexuals in a time and place that makes it impossible for them to coexist as lovers. It is about intolerance and fear, two destructive forces which occur in any relationship.
It portrays how society can force two hearts who desire one another to separate, and is about two men dealing with a relationship which they are not accustomed to, with a feeling they thought they were alien to and in a society that doesn’t accept them.
It is important to understand that the barriers Jack and Ennis face in the movie can parallel barriers we all face in our lives: the desire to be something and feel incapable of fulfilling that dream.