Author Topic: Interpreting the Brokeback poster  (Read 21985 times)

Offline Brown Eyes

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Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« on: November 14, 2007, 01:27:19 am »


Hey Buds,

I've been thinking it might be interesting for us to discuss this really well-known, signature image for Brokeback.  I think most of us have probably looked at this image so many times, we may take it for granted now.  But, I remember when BBM was still new and out in theaters... I used to just **love** seeing this poster everywhere in theater lobbies, in advertisements, etc.

I'm really hoping to start a discussion about the meaning behind this choice of image, the composition, the positioning of Ennis and Jack, the significance of the landscape, etc.  How does scale work here given the size of the two men compared to their background, etc.?  Do they feel detached from their background?  To me they feel like they're hovering in front of the landscape, but aren't really in it.  Why would the poster designer choose to compose the image this way?

I'm actually really interested in hearing how people interpret the positioning of Ennis and Jack here.

We can get into really specific details too... Such as, why is Ennis in this jacket here?  It's not one of his signature jackets.  What's the significance of the reflection of the landscape in the water?  Why is Jack depicted as so receding?

What part of BBM do you think this image corresponds with?  What does it evoke for you (as a viewer who has seen BBM many times and already loves the film).  How do you think this image works for someone who has never seen BBM or who has only seen it once?

One way of looking at this is as a pure image... what does this do for you (emotionally and in terms of how you interpret Brokeback)?

Another way to look at this, is of course, as a marketing image.  How do you feel about it?  Do you think it was successful as a marketing image?  Does it convey an image of BBM that corresponds with the way you see or understand Brokeback?  Does it project an appropriate image of what Brokeback is about?  How do you feel about the text and tag line?

I'm guessing that this image was worked-on for a long, long time and lots of very careful decisions and discussions probably happened around this main image by the filmmakers and marketers.  So, I think it's well-worth discussing this in-depth.




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Offline serious crayons

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2007, 02:34:52 am »
Great idea for a topic, Bud!

Well, it's late and I just noticed this thread so I'm going to make only a couple of quick comments and then think some more and come back to it later.

One is that I like that the image crams them as close together as humanly possible -- in fact, I think their juxtaposition actually may be anatomically impossible. My guess is that they didn't want to use a picture that's out-and-out sexy, or even as romantic as the dozy embrace, because they thought it would be too risky. Which is lame and sad and stupid. But for that I blame our society more than I do the marketing folks -- I give them credit for doing their best to get people into the theater. So, given that, they did at least manage to pose Jack and Ennis in a way that pretty strongly conveys that they're "more than just friends."

Also, I like how this image became kind of iconic. Remember that New Yorker cover that showed Dick Cheney and his hunting buddy shooting victim in this pose? And I think there were others. IMO these -- at least the ones I saw -- aren't laughing at BBM, like a Jay Leno joke would. They're laughing with it, acknowledging its status as a cultural landmark. So I appreciate that.



Offline Penthesilea

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2007, 07:24:36 am »
What a coincidence that you opened this topic just now  :). I chose the poster (along with the cover of Close Range) for this week's TOTW picture.

And while I was working on the picture (adjusting size, etc.) I noticed something which had escaped my attention till then (or maybe I have forgotten about it).

The background is never to be seen in the movie. Similar views, of course, but not exactly this one. And: on the postcard, there's a different background. I mean this postcard:



For a long time, I thought the postcard is the same as the poster, only the lower half cut. Wrong. For the postcard they used the right part of the scenery of the lake side argument:



But the positioning of Ennis and Jack is so iconic and dominating in both pictures, that the difference in background keeps a low profile. (Am I the only one who didn't notice the difference immediately?)

Why did they use different backgounds for the poster and postcard?

Offline Mero

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2007, 08:47:04 am »
As far as I know, the poster deliberatly followed the poster to Cameron's Titanic in order to establish BBM as "another great love story", and James Shamus explicitly conceded that much:



As far as the positioning of Ennis and Jack goes, I think it may be a foreboding of Jack's fate; and Ennis is in the foreground as it is "his" story, beginning and ending with Ennis.

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2007, 11:10:33 am »
Thanks for jumping in here Buds!  I have a feeling that this could be a *really* interesting topic.

Yes, I also agree that Jack is positioned in a way that makes him look a little ethereal... kind of floating in the background above Ennis.  And, I do think this is some kind of allusion to Jack's death... or of Jack turning into a kind of "guardian angel"  looking down on Ennis following his death (I think the "angel" concept in appropriate given some of Proulx's language even).  Or, more simply, maybe he's positioned to indicate that he's part of Ennis's memories, etc. 

Both Ennis and Jack appear somewhat other-worldly to me.  Both almost appear to be idealized versions of themselves.  And, it probably goes without saying that Ennis seems to be shown so prominently in the foreground to indicate his protagonist-status.

I went to bed obsessing about that jean jacket that Ennis is shown wearing.  I know that he does wear jean jackets in the movie (fireworks scene, etc.), but I really don't usually think of Ennis wearing that kind of jacket... or even blue.  Of course, Ennis's color is usuall brown (or white/ light colors with patterns).  I think of blue as Jack's color.  Interesting.

The Titanic poster seems to be a very good comparison.  And, that's really interesting about Schamus.  Do you know where he discussed the poster?  I'd be curious to learn more about his thoughts.

I'm really, really glad that the marketers chose an image that depicts Ennis and Jack in an intimate composition.  It's such a relief, that with this image at least, they were not hiding this main content (the love affair between the two men) of BBM.

the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie

Offline Penthesilea

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2007, 04:14:45 pm »
I went to bed obsessing about that jean jacket that Ennis is shown wearing.  I know that he does wear jean jackets in the movie (fireworks scene, etc.), but I really don't usually think of Ennis wearing that kind of jacket... or even blue.  Of course, Ennis's color is usuall brown (or white/ light colors with patterns).  I think of blue as Jack's color.  Interesting.


I think it's for artistic/marketing reasons. The blue denim jacket just fits better in the color theme of the pic than a tan jacket. Jack also wears denim (a shirt), therefore their bodies look like one, they're a unit. They even are similar in shape and placement to the body of the ship in the Titanic poster.

And I think this denim jacket is VERY Ennis, although it's blue. We see him quite often in it:

  • tobogganing scene
  • drive-in movie
  • unloading horse/coming home to the lonseme lil ranch/soothing his daughters in the nursery
  • fireworks scene
  • after Thanksgiving/fight scene
  • the directly following camping trip (riding along a lake/crossing a stream/"Do you think people on the pavement know?")
  • meeting Cassie the first time
  • driving Junior home after a date with Cassie + Junior

We once stated that Ennis often wears his own colors when with Jack, and Jack's color when apart from him. Another reason I think this denim shirt is very typical Ennis (and not Jack) is a certain image I connect with it. A denim jacket is more tough-guy like than the urban cowboy clothes Jack wears after he's married. Truckers, bikers, cowboys wear denim jackets, but not salesmen.


Quote
Yes, I also agree that Jack is positioned in a way that makes him look a little ethereal... kind of floating in the background above Ennis.  And, I do think this is some kind of allusion to Jack's death... or of Jack turning into a kind of "guardian angel"  looking down on Ennis following his death (I think the "angel" concept in appropriate given some of Proulx's language even).  Or, more simply, maybe he's positioned to indicate that he's part of Ennis's memories, etc. 

Yep, I also think Jack looks kinda ethereal in the poster. I also think this is deliberately done this way. Look closer at the left part of Jack's face. I mean left side for us, it's Jack's right cheek and ear: they are in a light as if the sun were shining on him from behind.
(And where is Jack's right shoulder?)

Another, very personal impression: to me, Jack's facial impression, the looking down with closed eyes, looks engrossed and enchanted. He has a hint of a smile on his face.
Ennis, with basically the same position, looks vulnerable to me. He has a hint of a frown on his face.

Offline Penthesilea

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2007, 04:29:54 pm »
Oh, I forgot another thing regarding Ennis and the denim jacket:

Ennis's tan jacket from their summer on Brokeback either is denim on the inside, or he wears a second, denim jacket under the tan one. I think it's the first, the tan jacket is denim blue on the inside.



The pic is from the "Shot a coyote, big son of a bitch, balls on him the size a apples" scene. Ennis warshing (but not yet everything he can reach  ;D) and Jack spills the beans. The photo captions of this scene are the only pics I've found where the inside of Ennis's tan jacket can be seen.

But in the very beginning, directly after Ennis exits the truck, he puts his jacket on. There you can also see the denim colored inside of the jacket for a split-second. Easier to detect in slow-motion.

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2007, 04:53:48 pm »
Hi Chrissi,

Yes, of course you're right that Ennis definitely does wear denim jackets.  Absolutely.  And, I also agree that for a single signature image for BBM (which is how this poster functions... it's the main image that everyone will have of the film... even if they never see the film and only see the posters as advertisements) it does convey a strong cowboy image for Ennis.  And perhaps tough too.  But, even though I know he does wear denim jackets, it still isn't his main image or association. And, when I really started thinking about the poster, this choice of wardrobe in the poster for Ennis really started to stand out. 

I agree that it probably has a lot to do with the color blue looking nice with the landscape and I also love that you note that it makes Jack and Ennis look like one unit.

Maybe... since as you say, Ennis seems to wear "Jack-colors" when Jack is away... this is more evidence that this is an image of Ennis without Jack or an image involving Jack's memory more than Jack's physical presence.  Maybe this is an image about Jack always being on Ennis's mind.  Or something like that. 

But, I do think that Jack is more associated with denim in general than Ennis (though not necessarily jean jackets), because of his denim shirt on Brokeback.  And then the color blue, which is so strong for Jack, seems to reinforce the idea of denim as well.

the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie

Offline serious crayons

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2007, 05:08:00 pm »
We've noted that Ennis tends to wear blue when he's missing Jack or thinking about Jack or feeling close to Jack, and tan when he's kind of pushing Jack away. So even from a symbolic sense -- which of course the casual poster observer isn't going to get -- blue is appropriate.

Plus, I think blue more strongly denotes love than tan would. It's probably one reason that in the movie, they chose blue as Jack's signature color and tan to show Ennis' ambivalence.

Wow, it's amazing comparing the poster with Titanic's. I'd always kind of dismissed the suggestion that there were deliberate echoes but, seeing them side by side, I think the parallels are undeniable. Even the seam of the jacket sleeve matches the shape and size of the painting on the ship!

I think their expressions look a lot like those they wore in the Dozy Embrace scene. In fact, Jack's looks so much like that that I wondered for half a second if it could be a shot from that, before realizing that he's wearing different clothes. But then, different clothes could have been Photoshopped into the picture. Anyway, however they did it, that's what his expression, in particular, reminds me of.


Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2007, 05:21:06 pm »
Hi Crayons!

Yes, this image evokes the dozy embrace for me too.  It works really well as a comparison or evocation I think, because both this image and the dozy embrace flashback have something of an other-worldly effect.  It's hard to describe this ethereal impression I get, again, both from this poster image and from the dozy embrace.  It's really an abstract emotion.  But, it's one of my favorite aspects of BBM. It seems like one of the really special qualities of BBM.

the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie

Offline serious crayons

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2007, 05:25:02 pm »
The only sad thing is that when Chrissi asked about Jack's right shoulder, I was about to say that, in the Titanic poster, you couldn't see Leo's left shoulder. But then I looked closer and saw that in fact you can, and that Leo and Kate are posing in something very similar to the Dozy Embrace.


Offline ifyoucantfixit

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2007, 05:25:12 pm »



      First I would like to say, I think this is the most beautiful Movie Poster, I have ever seen...And I know you
must know I have seen a few...  I remember after watching the movie.  Kelsey and I stood and just looked
at it, for the longest time...
      It has the feeling portrayed in its very being of the feeling you get or got from the movie.  The shy,
hidden extasy and downcast quiet.  They both do look elevated from their natural selves.  They look unblemished, and pure..The skin is literally flawless, the color of the hats and clothes are so pure and sharp.  Ever crease and
wrinkle is stark and revealing.  It seems to have the very essence of their souls within its borders.  The mountains,
and the lake gives it the iconic Eden appearance.  The bodies seem to meld into the sky, as if to become Gods,
within that high place.  They are both just on the verge of a smile.  But no smile is apparent. 
      The blue jackets I also think are to portray without doubt..They are cowboys,,   The purity of the faces,
is to portray love and beauty.. It is meant to show.  Love between men can be every bit as pure as any other
love, and definately as beautiful..
       I also agree with the fact that Jack is placed in the position of being Ennis's perfect ideal, that he has to
partially hide.  Even though they are one.  He has to hide him somewhat too.  He is also standing in front to
protect him from prying eyes too...In other words, to keep him safe..He is mine and you can't touch him..
Partially reflected also in the scene by the lake,  in a possessive way....All them things etc...It encompasses
a lot of the very things the movie tells us.  I realize I kind of rambled, there, but I was just putting down things
as i thought of them..sorry.



     Beautiful mind

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2007, 10:20:20 pm »
Great idea for a topic, Bud!

Well, it's late and I just noticed this thread so I'm going to make only a couple of quick comments and then think some more and come back to it later.

One is that I like that the image crams them as close together as humanly possible -- in fact, I think their juxtaposition actually may be anatomically impossible. My guess is that they didn't want to use a picture that's out-and-out sexy, or even as romantic as the dozy embrace, because they thought it would be too risky. Which is lame and sad and stupid. But for that I blame our society more than I do the marketing folks -- I give them credit for doing their best to get people into the theater. So, given that, they did at least manage to pose Jack and Ennis in a way that pretty strongly conveys that they're "more than just friends."


Quote
The only sad thing is that when Chrissi asked about Jack's right shoulder, I was about to say that, in the Titanic poster, you couldn't see Leo's left shoulder. But then I looked closer and saw that in fact you can, and that Leo and Kate are posing in something very similar to the Dozy Embrace.


Heya Katherine again,

I think these two observations about Jack's distorted anatomy here are really interesting.  And, it's also illuminating to note the slight difference from the Titanic image... where the figure in the back does have both shoulders that helps convey a more realistic idea of an embrace.  In the case of the BBM image... because of the missing shoulder it makes the image seem to be more about juxtaposition than about contact (as in a hug, etc.).  The missing shoulder I also think, very subtly adds to this other-worldly aspect or even surreal aspect of the image.  And, I don't think many people would notice the missing shoulder right away... it's something that has it's impact as part of the image in a very quiet way.  An idea of overlapping or juxtaposition is definitely re-enforced by the elegant way that the hats intersect.

The Brokeback image is definitely intimate without actually depicting a conventionally intimate pose or gesture.  And, I agree that the designers of the BBM image did a really good job of pulling this off.

Both Ennis and Jack seem so lost in thought here... it seems deeply contemplative.

the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie

Offline TheravadaAskesis

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2007, 03:28:08 am »

 Something that always struck me about the poster were the clouds in the background. They seemed somehow violent, threatening, tumultous, rumbling, I don't know. But the clouds, coupled with the tagline "Love is a Force of Nature", always struck me as symbolic of their relationship. Especially since these clouds are reflected in a mirror image on a perfectly placid lake. The clouds being outside pressures and the perfect lake being their love, the idea of the clouds imposing, coming over on the lake. Anyways, the clouds in the image are what always caught my eye.

Online southendmd

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2007, 02:23:06 pm »
I like the juxtaposition of the ominous clouds and the glass-still lake. 

Someone (was it Phillip?) once mentined that the mountains in the poster are actually the Big Horns in Wyoming.

I don't see Ennis as frowning; rather, it looks like a "Mona Lisa" enigmatic smile.

Also, it looks like a "Janus-head", two heads facing in opposite directions.  In Roman mythology, Janus was the god of gates, doors, doorways, beginnings, and endings (Wikipedia).


Offline serious crayons

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2007, 02:51:19 pm »
I don't see Ennis as frowning; rather, it looks like a "Mona Lisa" enigmatic smile.

Good way to put it!


Offline Penthesilea

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2007, 03:09:53 pm »
Also, it looks like a "Janus-head", two heads facing in opposite directions.  In Roman mythology, Janus was the god of gates, doors, doorways, beginnings, and endings (Wikipedia).



Good one Paul! It's so obvious, but yet it didn't cross my mind the last two days.
I think I've read the referrence way back somewhere on imdb, but totally forgot about it.

In my language, to name someone "janusköpfig" (literally = Janus-headed) is a bad thing to do. It implies that the person named such is deceitful, not truthful, therefore has two faces.  :-\
How about English? Are there also negative connections to Janus?

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2007, 03:36:54 pm »
The Janus suggestion is really interesting.  It's not a word or reference I'm all that familiar with.  I do think the visual imagery provided here seems to be very relevant to the BBM poster and I like the idea that it could be about beginnings and endings.  Chrissi, I can see how "double-headed" could also have negative connotations.  But, again, I'm not so familiar with the specific use of the term "Janus" in English.

I love that we may have come to yet another classical allusion!  :D  With this potential connection.

I can see how many aspects of the BBM story can be seen as double-sided or double-edged.  A fantastic love affair that's also deeply tragic.  That main theme presents all sorts of conflicting circumstances for Ennis (of course).  So, I can see how this idea of double-sidedness could be really useful in thinking about BBM.


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Offline Mikaela

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2007, 04:04:09 pm »
Great topic!

Some thoughts: Despite the figures of J&E being so prominent relative to the background mountains, the two men fit in with and "become one with" the mountains and the nature by means of:

-     The "horizontal" line on Ennis's sleeve and the light/shadow effect on it takes up and continues the shape and line of the mountains.

-     The flowing line of Ennis's hat that is directly continued by that of Jack's become one gently curved line that once more closely reflects and parallells the general shape the mountains.


The imagery of the mountain mirrored so clearly in the calm lake is repeated by the position of the two men - mirror images in the way they face opposite ways. That is very clearly symbolic, I'd say.


As has been noted, the vertical seam on Ennis's sleeve serves as a divider between the two men.


Their expressions and the downward-turned gazes - what to make of that? Both look introspective, taciturn, and yes - enigmatic. Veiling their feelings and hiding their eyes under the iconic cowboy hat brim. Since direct eye contact can be very eloquent as to true emotions.... perhaps this meant to be directly indicative of the two of them having to hide "the love that dares not speak it name?" Not just from the poster onlookers, but also from for each other, given their position turned away from each other. Jack's slight pout indicates a possible difference between him and Ennis, though - either in personality or in emotional state.


And yes, I recall seeing varius articles and interviews back when the film premiered confirming the deliberate use of the Titanic poster as inspiration, so there's no doubt in my mind about that.

Offline TOoP/Bruce

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #19 on: November 15, 2007, 04:24:25 pm »

How about English? Are there also negative connections to Janus?
 

I don't think this is either a negative or a positive, but Janus Funds Inc. is the name of a large family of mutual funds here in the US of A.
Former IMDb Name: True Oracle of Phoenix / TOoP (I pronounce it "too - op") / " in fire forged,  from ash reborn" / Currently: GeorgeObliqueStrokeXR40

Offline serious crayons

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #20 on: November 15, 2007, 04:33:23 pm »
I don't think this is either a negative or a positive, but Janus Funds Inc. is the name of a large family of mutual funds here in the US of A.

Maybe the poster designers were trying to subtly appeal to the personal investors demographic.  ;D

Offline TOoP/Bruce

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #21 on: November 15, 2007, 04:37:28 pm »
Maybe the poster designers were trying to subtly appeal to the personal investors demographic.  ;D


Product placement?  Perhaps?
Former IMDb Name: True Oracle of Phoenix / TOoP (I pronounce it "too - op") / " in fire forged,  from ash reborn" / Currently: GeorgeObliqueStrokeXR40

Offline delalluvia

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #22 on: November 16, 2007, 02:11:33 am »
I don't go for the Janus thing, but just to throw around some more ideas, Janus was also a god of beginnings, of doorways, the old year and the new year, looking ahead and looking behind.

The two-faced thing can be seen as negative, but it can also be seen as the two men having two sides to themselves - one face they show to society, another face they show to each other.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #23 on: November 16, 2007, 02:16:25 am »
Good observation, Del.


Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #24 on: November 16, 2007, 12:21:21 pm »
The two-faced thing can be seen as negative, but it can also be seen as the two men having two sides to themselves - one face they show to society, another face they show to each other.


I think this is very good.  It's interesting how the positioning of the two figures (that aspect alone) can have so many levels of meaning and meanings that can in fact be a bit disparate.  It can be read as an image of intimacy or as this really rather layered allegorical composition.  And, then the fact that the image evokes (but doesn't precisely illustrate) moments in the actual film is important too.  It's very interesting that this juxataposition of Jack and Ennis is never precisely seen in the film and, as has been pointed out... the landscape is similar to familiar landscape in the film... but again not precisely the same as the most significant images of landscape seen in the film.




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Offline RossInIllinois

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #25 on: November 17, 2007, 05:55:04 am »
That photo was taken during a special still photo shoot intended for publicity. 100s of photos were taken of them someone choose this one shot as "THE ONE". The shoot was done at a studio and the mountain scene in the back is added in for a visual effect.

Offline delalluvia

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #26 on: November 17, 2007, 01:46:44 pm »
That photo was taken during a special still photo shoot intended for publicity. 100s of photos were taken of them someone choose this one shot as "THE ONE". The shoot was done at a studio and the mountain scene in the back is added in for a visual effect.

Wonder what they were directed to be doing/thinking when the shot was taken?

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #27 on: November 17, 2007, 08:27:11 pm »

Yes, it's abundantly clear that this image in the poster is fabricated, staged, etc.  There's no question that this image exists outside the normal context of the film.  This is one reason why it's so interesting to me.

I just watched BBM tonight... and while I was watching I paid special attention to Ennis's jackets.  He seems to wear the same jean jacket throughout the years (much in the same way that he seems to wear the brown corduroy jacket for many years).  The jean jacket that he wears (seen in the drive-in movie scene, the fireworks scene, the "three-hands" scene, etc.) has a brown/ tan lining on the inside of the collar.  The tan collar... is exactly the color I associate with Ennis.  In the poster, it's interesting to me that the collar is turned up.  My continuing question is about whether the jean jacket in the poster is ever seen in the film.  And, because the collar is turned up... it's almost impossible to tell.


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Offline serious crayons

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #28 on: November 18, 2007, 12:21:44 pm »
He seems to wear the same jean jacket throughout the years (much in the same way that he seems to wear the brown corduroy jacket for many years).

And yet it never seems to get worn or ripped or stained, which you'd think it would given Ennis' jobs. A blooper??   ??? ;D   

Quote
  In the poster, it's interesting to me that the collar is turned up.  My continuing question is about whether the jean jacket in the poster is ever seen in the film.  And, because the collar is turned up... it's almost impossible to tell.

I wondered about the turned-up collar, too. I assume they did it that way just because the composition works a little better visually than it would, I think, with the collar down. But it also fits Ennis' character -- kind of guarded, cautious, hidden. An uncovered neck in this shot would look vulnerable, very un-Ennis.

Also, the turned-up collar keeps it from looking like two heads coming out of the same body.  :laugh:


Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #29 on: November 18, 2007, 08:50:22 pm »


Also, the turned-up collar keeps it from looking like two heads coming out of the same body.  :laugh:



Good point. :)


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Offline Shakesthecoffecan

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #30 on: November 18, 2007, 09:12:35 pm »
Went I look at that poster now, I am transported back two years. My eye is clear and my heart is jumping just a bit. Everything about the image before me is crisp and clean and wholesome.

You have the two guys, but looking down, both with an ever so faint grin upon their mouths, well at least not a frown. They are facing in different directions, almost oblivious to one another, (Ships passing in the night) leads me to think they are actually exiting on two different planes, different places, (otherwise Jack's right shoulder should be there, right?) yet they are linked. Ennis is in the forground, as it is essentially his story. Jack, in the back ground, he looks like he is moving forward, like his is travelling. They are alone with a secret, they cannot look it or you in the eye. I can relate to that very well.

They are set against a back drop of beauty, the Tetons, a lake, a grassy place, a reflection of the Tetons, they are alone, they are the only two people, period.

And there is the text, the prominent name BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. It is ominous. I have never understood why Proulx came up upon that name for the setting, for the name, but it is very effective. It broke them in a way, it sets a tone that somethings going to be broken. It is like a Venus fly trap, beautiful and seductive, and heartbreaking.

And the last thing you read: Love Is A Force Of Nature. You know what the movie is about, You are being given a universal truth. It is like a shield against whatever adversity comes its way. It is saying: This is real, this is true, like it or not, you are going to have to face this.
"It was only you in my life, and it will always be only you, Jack, I swear."

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #31 on: December 15, 2007, 02:51:23 am »

Heya,

It occurs to me that the way Jack and Ennis are juxtaposed in the poster reminds me (generally) of how they're arranged in the motel scene...

<img src="http://www.divshare.com/img/midsize/3121410-ad8.jpg" border="0" />

although of course, there's an entirely different situation going on with arms and Ennis is in profile in the poster... but, the way their head's appear joined and Jack's placement seem particularly similar to the poster.

<img src="http://www.divshare.com/img/midsize/2746499-dd4.jpg" border="0" />



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Offline myprivatejack

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #32 on: December 29, 2007, 12:09:18 pm »
Yes,it seems to have an a analogy...But,as in the dozy  embrace,could it be because Ennis didn´t want to  see that was  a man whom heo was embracing?I mean, could the poster simbolise  there was an eternal denial to put them face to face to each other,it´s to say,with their reality?.
I like your silences,quiet conversations of evident sensations,where our words are life´s tinsels.
The lost illusions are the found truths.

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #33 on: December 29, 2007, 03:36:22 pm »
Heya,

Yes, I think it's definitely possible that Ennis's position in the poster and particularly with the image of Jack right behind him (almost in the position of a "thought bubble") that the juxtaposition is meant to imply something about Ennis's denial.  I think it may be a double-edged thing.  When I think about the poster with this "denial" idea in mind it also strikes me that the position of Jack could imply that Jack is always on Ennis's mind (a driving force in Ennis's thought-process constantly and the factor around which he built his life, etc.).

I think Ennis's rather determined denial and the constant presence of Jack in his thoughts are two huge themes in the film.

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Offline serious crayons

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #34 on: December 29, 2007, 04:07:24 pm »
Ennis's position in the poster and particularly with the image of Jack right behind him (almost in the position of a "thought bubble")

Interesting! It could almost be seen as a picture of Ennis with Jack in his thoughts.


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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #35 on: December 31, 2007, 07:31:50 am »
Interesting! It could almost be seen as a picture of Ennis with Jack in his thoughts.


Jack in his thoughts when they were away from each other or,unfortunately,when this was the only place he can recover Jack,already not in physical sense...And also,as it's been said if I remember well,a way to protect Jack,the way Ennis was protecting him against inopportune glances or gossip but above all,against society's intolerance-his "hobbyhorse" in which,by the way,he was unsuccessful-.Does this also make sense?.
I like your silences,quiet conversations of evident sensations,where our words are life´s tinsels.
The lost illusions are the found truths.

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #36 on: December 31, 2007, 01:04:21 pm »
Jack in his thoughts when they were away from each other or,unfortunately,when this was the only place he can recover Jack,already not in physical sense...And also,as it's been said if I remember well,a way to protect Jack,the way Ennis was protecting him against inopportune glances or gossip but above all,against society's intolerance-his "hobbyhorse" in which,by the way,he was unsuccessful-.Does this also make sense?.


I like the idea that Ennis's position might suggest a protectiveness or defensiveness in blocking the viewer's access to the image of Jack.  We've seen repeatedly discussions about Ennis's protectiveness regarding Jack so this makes good sense to me.  I also think the image could imply that Jack is also being protective of Ennis in the sense that he may be interpreted a bit like a guardian angel (a little surreal with the distorted anatomy here, and also in a hovering position)... this falls nicely in line with the "ministering angel" description of Jack from the story and may be particularly poignant if this is an image of Ennis' remembering Jack following the accident/murder.

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Offline Sandy

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #37 on: January 03, 2008, 10:11:15 am »
I think that I have a slightly different take on the poster.

When our boys first met and were heading to the bar, Jack walked with his head high whilst Ennis walked behind him, facing the ground.  In this poster however, they are both facing down.  Is Ennis’ fear changing Jack?

Let’s say that Ennis is moving forward.  Jack can’t move forward, because he is almost side on to Ennis.  It appears that Ennis is moving on from Jack. 

Taking it further however, does anyone have any thoughts as to why Jack is looking down at the path Ennis is leaving?  Is he now watching Ennis’ back, as opposed to Ennis watching Jack’s?

The poster is of them when they were younger, in the first flush of their love.  To me, Jack looks disappointed so maybe this picture shows them as they felt when they parted.

You will see that I am not really expressing my opinion, rather asking questions of you all!  When I first watched the film, this poster summed it up and I’m really not sure why   ???

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #38 on: January 03, 2008, 11:56:41 am »
Hey Sandy!

I think your questions and suggestions are really intriguing.

It's definitely a puzzle why Jack would be behind... since he's usually positioned in the lead throughout the movie whenever Jack and Ennis are moving (walking to the bar, Jack is in the lead when they move the sheep, etc.).  I think the main explanation for this is to foreground Ennis as the protagonist for an uninitiated viewing audience of the poster as an ad.

However, I think it is smart to see Ennis as blocking Jack... and I think this can be interpreted in many ways. 

I don't see Jack here as looking disappointed... he looks wistful to me... or almost like he's sleeping.  Maybe something like his facial expression in the dozy embrace... or in the motel scene where his eyes are closed.  But, this is all purely personal interpretation... I'm sure there are zillions of ways to read his facial expression.

And, I think that showing Jack and Ennis while they're young, again serves at least two purposes.  It emphasizes the importance of the Brokeback phase of their lives and the ideal aspects of the beginnings of their romance.  And, from a more cynical marketing point of view... they're shown young because that's the phase when it's probably assumed that audiences will find them most attractive (pre-moustache-of-disillusion and pre-fisherman's hat, etc.).
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Offline Sandy

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #39 on: January 03, 2008, 12:29:33 pm »
Hello Amanda, thanks for your reply!  I forget that the "money-men’s" purpose of the poster is to promote the film! 

I agree with your comments that the positioning of Ennis in front of Jack shows the delicate balance between the characters that the film achieves.

You’re correct, disappointment is probably too strong a word to use here, but I think if he was wistful he would have his head raised and be looking at Ennis?  I think the fact that he has his head lowered shows his hopes being dashed, but maybe again that is too strong. 

Their youth in the frame?  Agreed.  Although Ennis says that it is a “one shot thing”, as their feelings develop on the mountain, the viewer has complete faith that they will be together (as in most love stories).  And of course, Heath & Jake’s good looks get the vote!

Offline serious crayons

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #40 on: January 03, 2008, 12:40:05 pm »
To me, Jack's expression looks a lot like his expression in the Dozy Embrace scene.


Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #41 on: February 05, 2009, 01:33:56 pm »


Heya,
I'm bumping this thread because some of the themes discussed here have come up again in various other conversations.

:)

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #42 on: February 06, 2009, 10:11:19 pm »
Oh, I forgot another thing regarding Ennis and the denim jacket:

Ennis's tan jacket from their summer on Brokeback either is denim on the inside, or he wears a second, denim jacket under the tan one. I think it's the first, the tan jacket is denim blue on the inside.



The pic is from the "Shot a coyote, big son of a bitch, balls on him the size a apples" scene. Ennis warshing (but not yet everything he can reach  ;D) and Jack spills the beans. The photo captions of this scene are the only pics I've found where the inside of Ennis's tan jacket can be seen.

But in the very beginning, directly after Ennis exits the truck, he puts his jacket on. There you can also see the denim colored inside of the jacket for a split-second. Easier to detect in slow-motion.

It may look as if the lining is blue in the tan jacket, but having seen and worn the jacket in question, I can tell you that the lining is a blue and red plaid.
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Online southendmd

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #43 on: December 12, 2017, 01:39:19 pm »
How dare they???



"You’re invited to discover that love is a force of nature…at Disney’s new musical, Frozen.

For the first time, Frozen comes to life on Broadway, re-imagined for the stage in a new production by an award-winning team.

This is the timeless tale of two sisters, pulled apart by a mysterious secret. Both are searching for love. They just don’t know how to find it.

The show’s expanded score features twice as many songs as the original film, all written by the husband-and-wife composing team of Kirsten Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez."

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #44 on: December 12, 2017, 02:13:01 pm »
Isn't that copyright infringement? I recall James Shamus wrote that tag line.  :-\
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Online Jeff Wrangler

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #45 on: December 12, 2017, 02:33:25 pm »
That's just silly ( I mean the use of the line here, not the copyright infringement).

Are they getting Jonathan Groff to reprise his voice acting?  ;D
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline Sason

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #46 on: December 13, 2017, 03:13:32 pm »
Sacrilege!!!  >:( >:( >:(

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Offline CellarDweller

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #47 on: December 14, 2017, 08:50:18 pm »
I heard that on the radio as well.



Tell him when l come up to him and ask to play the record, l'm gonna say: ''Voulez-vous jouer ce disque?''
'Voulez-vous, will you kiss my dick?'
Will you play my record? One-track mind!

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Re: Interpreting the Brokeback poster
« Reply #48 on: December 14, 2017, 08:58:12 pm »
I went and left a post on the FB page, and saw that Lee beat me to it.

:laugh:


I don't believe that phrase is protected, because it's not the first time it's happened.





Tell him when l come up to him and ask to play the record, l'm gonna say: ''Voulez-vous jouer ce disque?''
'Voulez-vous, will you kiss my dick?'
Will you play my record? One-track mind!