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(Update: Blogger hasn't fixed its problem with the "adult warning". Will go back to posting at my WordPress blog)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Jake Gyllenhaal & Heath Ledger

I remember when Brokeback Mountain was just whispered about.  Like everybody else who was a bit or more than a bit gay, and all those straight women who support the gay cause, we read everything we could, discussed every snippet of info, and planned for our first viewing of the film.  Which was an amazing and wonderful, a subtle and marvellous masterpiece.  (For those who've not seen this incomparable film, here is a rather bloodless summary from Wikipedia.  Now go out and see it!)

Here are two of the photo stills from the film, which show an extraordinary closeness between Ennis del Mar (played by Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (acted by Jake Gyllenhaal)   Real or acted?  If acted, it's consummate acting.  Look at the look on both their faces, especially in the first picture.  This looks like love.  Examine Jack Twist's face, with the downcast eyes and the serene happiness.  Look at Ennis del Mar's fierce possessiveness and love.  Remarkable.

Recently, I came across two photos of these actors off camera, and was astounded to see their closeness.  Not love ("in love") as Ennis del Mar and Jack Twist were, but an obvious and unashamed intense affection.  I know these blokes weren't gay, in the sense of the word when we use it as a label to describe sexual orientation and sexual culture.   But the love and affection for each other, the playful way they transgress the boundaries of straight male public affection is telling.  And heart-warming.

It is said that Jake Gyllenhaal was extremely distraught at Heath Ledger's death.  Understandably.

I felt I had lost a friend, even though I didn't know him -- perhaps not a friend, a beloved and admired patron, because as a straight actor he had the courage to play a gay role, which might have destroyed his career, but which instead altered the world, and made ordinary people realise that we homos can love and we do, and that that love is as valid and real and worthy as the heterosexual kind.  I wonder how much of the rapid advance of acceptance of us by the straight world over the last five years is due just to this film and this act of courage by these two guys.

Thank you Jake and Heath (wherever your spirit is).  You did good.  You helped make the world a better place, and there is no higher calling.


Hunter said...

I think Brokeback was one of those cultural watersheds -- a couple of years after it came out, I reviewed Shelter, with the comment that before Brokeback, it could have been made, but no one would have. It gave permission.

Lovely pictures, and very insightful comments.

Nigel said...

Thank you!

Each step forward can be followed by a step back, yet, I think, Brokeback Mountain changed everything.