Finally saw Brokeback Mountain last night and am still thinking about it. In fact, just thinking about what I have seen makes me wanna cry. I honestly can't put a finger on which emotion keeps triggering this feeling: Is it happiness that an amazing film was made about two gay men? Is it sadness for the characters in the story who had to live with shame, fear and sadness? This feeling keeps pushing at my chest and throat and wants to come out, but for some reason can't.
I do know this: I am grateful that I, as a gay man, have incredible writers like Annie Proulx, Larry McMurty, and Diana Ossana who write about the pain/confusion of being in love and not being able to share it with anyone for fear of persecution. I am grateful that I, as a gay man, have an incredibly intelligent director like Ang Lee who understands not only the truth in this story and it's characters but the importance of this film to gays everywhere. I am grateful, as a gay man, that Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal had respect for the men they portrayed and gave, above all, honest performances.
I am also grateful and fortunate, as a gay man, that I live in a city where I can walk hand-in-hand with my boyfriend; that I live in a city where I can go to restaurants filled with straight couples without feeling awkward; that I can live in an apartment with my boyfriend (in Harlem, no less) without the fear that we will be beaten or killed for doing so. Unfortunately it's not the same in most parts of this country. For that I feel guilty -- it doesn't seem fair. Why can't it be the same in Atlanta? In St. Louis? In Tuscon? Why must so many gays in the United States of America live in fear? Call me optimistic, but I truly believe that one day we will live without fear. One day a film like this will be "normal" rather than watershed.
Right now I'm gonna finally read Andy Towle's Guide To Brokeback Mountain which I've been avoiding until after I saw the film. After glancing at it, it looks like I have a full day of reading ahead of me...