As a contribution towards the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Ang Lee retrospective I did a short write-up regarding one of his two more well-known films, Brokeback Mountain (the other being Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). While I don't really have an opinion on Lee as an auteur (haven't seen enough), I do think Brokeback Mountain has more substantial weight to it than it maybe gets credit for. It is often written off as an Oscar-baiting feature that uses its premise of a homosexual relationship more as a gimmick than as a sincere exploration of love. And while it certainly has all the elements of a big, sweeping Oscar film, I think there is more nuance and sincerity than can be recognized on the surface. Besides, we all remember what happened at the Oscars that year: aside from the all the accolades for artistic achievements the Academy threw at Lee and co. (winning Best Screenplay, Best Original Score, and Best Director), they were denied the laurel of Best Picture, which was given to that mess of ham-fisted morality on racism: Crash. Perhaps there is enough of a dark edge on Brokeback Mountain to ward off Academy voters.
And the darkness of the film is what I try to focus on in the piece. As tender or loving as some scenes are, there is always a pervasive darkness that haunts the characters on screen that gets conveyed visually. Anyway, the piece is here.