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Audiovisual FILM STUDIES FOR FREE

Selected Videographic Essays and Criticism by Catherine Grant

Through the Queer Longing Glass of BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN

Films accumulate meaning through, at times, very subtle moves. From one colour to another. From one shape to another. The latter is the case with BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN (Ang Lee, 2005).

While much of the film's affective meaning is conjured through quite obvious (but no less moving for that) figurations of absence and presence, such as Ennis's discovery of the (now 'empty') bloodied shirts in Jack's closet, and their (still 'empty') reappearance in Ennis's own closet at the end of the film, there is also some mourning and memory-work carried out through considerably less conspicuous, visual shape-shifting and graphic matching.

This very short video essay traces the long journey from Jack's desirous looking at Ennis through round glass (as he shaves his later-to-be-bruised cheek) in the early and middle parts of the film, to Ennis's touching association with squarer, straighter, vistas, at the end of the film, an un/looking through 'longing glass' in which Jack can only be figured invisibly, metaphorically, through his absence.

For more scholarly and critical work on this film, please visit: filmstudiesforfree.blogspot.com/2011/10/brokeback-mountain-studies-through.html