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MOVIES: Brokeback Mountain (Berlinale 2020) - "Why It Is Still an Essential Movie"

Brokeback Mountain came out fifteen years ago. After a series of obstacles, Ang Lee managed to direct a gay movie about cowboys, what a scandal! The history speaks for itself, as the film has become one of the milestones in the 21st century queer cinema. Paving the way for a series of innovative, and relevant LGBT stories, Brokeback had the resonance that cinema needed to experience in order to be more open to diversity.

Among the long list of movies presented, encounters and events, Berlinale also gives space to celebrate great directors and cinematic masterpieces. On Thursday, February 27 was the time of Ang Lee who was part of a talk "Ang Lee in conversation with Hirokazu Kore-eda".

Rewatching again the movie, for the first time in cinema, I realized how relevant Brokeback still is. The plot of Brokeback Mountain must be familiar to almost anyone, two cowboys meet on the mountains of Wyoming in 1963, and fall in love. Their 20-years-long love affair gets harder and more complicated the more time goes by.

The movie is heartbreaking, emotionally draining, but especially, universal and relatable. Ennis’ and Jack’s struggle against the time they are living in, against their inner demons is not aging at all. Watching Jack saying “I don’t know how to quit you” or Ennis whispering “Jack, I swear” just punch you in the guts and force you to forget any social implication, or even any gendered dimension: these are two souls who are caring for each other, until the very end. This is also what the Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-Eda, invited by Ang Lee, was praising about the movie: the sense of universality that this story embodies.

As I have stated, it was my first time I watched the movie in the cinema, but my third vision overall. As Ang Lee humbly thanked Berlinale for getting his career started, the audience at Akademie der Kuenste was thankful to the director for what Brokeback Mountain has meant to so many people around the world.

What did Brokeback Mountain mean to you?

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