23 March, 2006

Crash versus Brokebank Mountain

I know people who are refusing to see Brokebank Mountain because they are not interested in a story about two guys doing it - and this is despite me calling it a 'must-see' and 'one of the films of the year'. Are they homophobic? Or simply not interested in the story. Or both? Just because homophobes don't want to see Brokeback Mountain it doesn't mean that everyone who doesn't want to see it is a homophobe.

It also follows that not everyone who prefers Crash to Brokeback Mountain as a moviegoing experience is a homophobe. It seems strange to have to state that as it seems pretty darned obvious but Turan in the LA Times and the author of Brokebank Mountain, Annie Proulx, in the Guardian are peddling that nonsense.

I am a bit insulted to be honest. None of my best friends are gay but I consider myself a bleeding heart liberal. I loved Brokebank Mountain but to be honest I loved Crash and A History of Violence quite a bit more. Josh Olson, the screenwriter of A History of Violence had a dig at Proulx's views in the letters page last Saturday, pointing out his film had better reviews.

Maybe I'm not a true proper liberal but forgive me if I'm more interested in condemning homophobic bullying of children leading to their suicide and homophobic assault and murder than in condeming those who don't want to pay their ten bucks to see two men snogging and shagging. Of course there is , obviously, some correlation between lack of positive gay viewpoints in the media and homophobia but once those positive viewpoints are out there, you can't force people to watch it or force them to like it. It's still art and it's still subjective.

For the opening weekend we choose which movie to see based on genre, what mood we're in, who we're going with, what the critical reaction is and what the story is about. We all have different worldviews and we mostly tend to see things we can relate to directly and two guys getting it on is only relatable directly to a very small percentage of the population. One can hope, from a liberal perspective, that a universal story about love can transcend barriers of sexuality - as well as race, disability, faith, etc but that isn't always going to happen.


Dom Carver said...

A true lover of films wouldn't limit themselves to what they go and see because they agree or disagree with a film's content. A true lover of films would go to any film with an open mind.

To accuse people of being homophobic if they don't go and watch, or prefer another film to, Brokeback Mountain smacks of the same kind of narrow-mindedness they are attempting to accuse others of.

It makes my blood boil. At the-end-of-the-day a good film is a good film.

Robin Kelly said...

I agree that film is one way, especially good film, to expand your horizons and see other points of views. I love good films in every genre and every subject.

Larry David joked about refusing to see the Brokeback Mountain in case he 'turned' but that may have been a real fear for people or at the very least they may feel more tolerant.

I think the bitter and sour reaction of the Brokebank Mountain people has caused a bit of a backlash. Especially as a bloke playing a gay writer won an Oscar from the 'homophobes'.

While it's still clearly a film of the year, I feel I should now say it's too long (breaking the unity of action) and any film set over decades is going to have a problem (breaking the unity of time).

That's fine for prose but Crash and History of Violence were clearly written by film-makers for film.