Author Topic: Please help me understand these  (Read 11885 times)

Offline BBM_victim

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Please help me understand these
« on: February 10, 2017, 12:40:24 am »
Friends,
I think i have not the time and patience to go over 11 years of threads and posts  ::)
I still have some points which i don't understand about this movie. Maybe some of these were discussed already. If yes, then sorry that i bring them up again. I would be very grateful if anybody could point me to the answers or try to answer the questions from the top of his head / memory.

Here it goes:

1. When Ennis and Jack are at the bar after Aguirre's trailer and Jack is telling Ennis "It's my second year up here. Last year one storm the lightnin' kilt 42 sheep" - just why does Ennis have this kind of look at his face? Kind of shocked and kind of "what is this guy talking about?" / "unbelievable!" face.
Please enlighten me...

2. Why is Jack together with Ennis up with the sheep at the time of "ain't queer"? I'm sure this was discussed a lot... Any links to the threads maybe?

3. At the motel, during the shots where Ennis is in focus - why does Jack look like some kind of freaky ghost?? Eyes closed, no emotion, in the dark? Was it done on purpose as kind of foreshadowing? It should be some happy time, this freaky Jack is kind of ruining the scene for me...  :-\

4. When Ennis introduces Jack to Alma, i saw some pictures that Jack is standing in the kitchen. But in the movie that i saw Jack stays in the entrance hallway where the light is dim (he's in the dark again) and he keeps hiding his face below his hat - which is understandable in view of his excitement, probably can hardly breath and all. His eyes look so big from below that hat, his posture is somewhat bowed - he looks so suspicious like some kind of a criminal. If i were Alma i would be quite worried about Ennis being with this strange guy.... And after her "knowing" i would ask myself "THIS is supposed to be the guy whom Ennis is seeing??".
What do you think about Jack at this moment?

5. During the final lake argument scene Jack exclaims "Y'know, you had a fuckin' week to say some li'l word about this. Oh man, why is it we're always
in the friggin' cold?! We ought a go south where it's warm! You know, we ought a go to Mexico!". Just why does he go suddenly to complaining about the temperature?? Even in the short story it's the same. I cannot follow his thoughts / feelings at this moment... It feels so abrupt, sudden and out of place... Please enlighten me?


I might have more.... Would be glad for any help!
« Last Edit: May 26, 2017, 01:21:19 am by BBM_victim »

Offline BBM_victim

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Re: Please help me understand these
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2017, 02:49:12 am »
Friends,

So, i guess the questions were too old for anybody here who is still around  :) Nevermind.

I think in the meantime (after lots of re-watching and thinking) i understand #5. Jack is really hurting inside when they pick up their stuff and put it in the truck. Because he knows it's a repeated parting from Ennis. He is sooo sad and party angry already. Then he hears that Ennis cannot make it to their next meeting in August - another blow for him. He is disappointed, crushed and - above all - angry. But he tries not to direct that anger to Ennis directly because i feel he understands that Ennis is doing his best. As pointed out in the short story all further things they say are "no news", so i think Jack knows Ennis' struggling all the way. Nevertheless, he also feels deeply disappointed and angry about the circumstances. While not being able to vent that frustration and anger directly on Ennis, he complains about the weather "Why is it we're always in the friggin' cold?!".

I feel that's the one point of his speech - just to express anger. Like when you're in a bad mood (because of [fill in the gap]) and the scissors you are using at the moment are not cutting right, so you smash them against the wall and shout "Goddamn scissors!" The other one is in the next part of him saying "We ought a go south where it's warm" - i think he's complaining about the fact that their meetings are always on Ennis' terms, that he is controlling where and when they meet leading to Jack having no other choice as to follow and to sustain all that is in-between - which is a lot (emotionally). He also cannot handle it as good as he used to, therefore his this and further outburst.

Jack's complaints about the weather, that indirect venting, is then repeated by Ennis in this scene. It's as always with these two - Jack is one step ahead and Ennis is following suit. After Jack says "I did once" which now puts Ennis in great pain he uses the same way of indirect venting by addressing that Mexico issue. Again - Ennis is aware of Jack's "adventures", it's "no news". Maybe he also understands Jack's needs (i don't know) and that Jack needs to act upon them, so he cannot blame him directly, in fact he kept silent and never did up to this moment. Therefore his "them things i don't know" and "can get you killed if i get to know them" - it's kind of a lame threat... He could never kill Jack... So, it feels like that acting out on a pair of scissors again.

By the way, for me it is harder to watch Jack's face at this point than his face upon Ennis driving away after the dozy embrace. While in the latter one Jack looks kind of determined and like he had calmed down or has accepted his feelings, in the former he looks like in real, great, great pain. May i post these two here?

[Put them below now]

He looks like so close to tears... Like he's knowing what Ennis is going to say and that it will hurt as hell - both of them. He wished they could stop hurting each other at this moment, but cannot help his feelings and need for some word of truth spoken either. The acting here is so so great.....

Sorry, this is my thread for trying to understand things, so i need to post all this.

I had some thinking about that lie Jack tells Ennis about having an affair with Lashawn. When he starts his story it's in response (as we all know) to Ennis' story about Cassie. His face expression is so sad when he starts talking. Like as he hates it what he has to say, that he hates that he has to respond with the same kind of BS, that he has to make things up between them. So sad... But he's laughing as soon as Ennis laughs. It's like "your laughter is like wind in my sails" - a brief moment of reciprocal joy?... And then he says that devastating line about missing Ennis :(. I think it shows just how strong their love was even after these crushing 20 years and all what happened. Jack missing Ennis more than ever, Ennis crying and falling on his knees just at the thought Jack could give him up and move on / leave him. I think it is also the only time when Ennis gets angry at the idea of somebody special leaving him.

Then, Ennis at the bus station. I read some discussions about a "dead" expression on Ennis' face, especially after Cassie tells him that she did not fall in love with him for fun. So, i had a thought that maybe that is now Ennis missing Jack so much he can hardly stand it. It's just an idea. Surely, there is quite a lot going on in him at this moment, but i thought it would fit into that pattern of Jack doing / saying something first and then Ennis following suit. So, maybe it is an equivalent to Jack's scene with Randall - both of their face expressions. Ennis was always late with everything, Jack always ahead of him. Maybe Ennis was now coming into the same crushed emotional state as Jack had been in since some time ago already.

I know i wrote in a different thread that i think Jack would leave Ennis out of love, but i think i have to take that back. I don't think so anymore. I feel they would definitely stay together and Ennis would make some changes. For sure!!!
« Last Edit: April 24, 2017, 04:00:23 am by BBM_victim »

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: Please help me understand these
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2017, 08:07:09 pm »
Dear BBMvictim, Great insights! I don't know how I missed this when you posted in February. Perhaps I was in the mountains. I will think on these points and post asap. Front-Ranger
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Offline BBM_victim

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Re: Please help me understand these
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2017, 09:10:14 pm »
"Perhaps I was in the mountains." - Like for real?? :D Sounds nice! :D
Thanks Front-Ranger for talking to me :)

Watched the film yesterday yet again... Not feeling good today :(....

Some further thoughts i have. I LOVE how there are almost no bad people in this movie! The worst would have been Lureen's dad and those guys who made "pissant" comments about Jack. I think Lureen cared about Jack quite a lot. Maybe it was not the biggest love, but she still liked him enough to care about his ashes being scattered on Brockback Mountain, don't you think so? When Ennis tells her that BBM is not a fictional place, she tears up because she understands now. She knows Jack's heart was with this guy and with that place instead of her and their home and still she gathers and tells Ennis to go to his folks to get the ashes. I think this shows just how much she actually cared for Jack.

And Alma? She had also all right to hate Ennis and don't care about him. But she still worries about him and - what i think is her greatest accomplishment - she never talks badly about Ennis to her daughters. Ennis' daughters love him as if never anything happened, which i think is thanks to Alma not telling them what kind of an a*hole he is for sneaking away with somebody else, never spending time with them all as a family, divorcing their mother, for not loving her. I think as a parent it could be difficult to not let out that anger about somebody who left you on the kids. But she did that alright and i am thankful to her for that, because by doing so Ennis' could have his daughters (whom he loved a lot) around him in his loneliness. In the end it's basically the last thing he was left with.

Mmm, i also listened to the soundtrack again (don't know why i keep doing this to myself!). I feel there is so much love and tenderness in all songs. There is so much of this in this whole movie. The way Ennis and Jack interact with each other, but also in ways they do it with people around them, too. It is unfortunately a tragedy, but this movie is just spilling a huge and infinite amount of love and tenderness from the screen. Tenderness - that's the feeling i always end up with. Sometimes passion, yes, but mostly that. It feels really magical what Ang Lee had done here. This is a movie about two guys who are SO loving inside it's incredible...

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: Please help me understand these
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2017, 09:20:06 pm »
I agree, there is so much love in this movie, despite them never saying "I love you." <3
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Offline BBM_victim

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Re: Please help me understand these
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2017, 08:22:00 pm »
If you have any thoughts on the other points, would be glad to hear! :D

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: Please help me understand these
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2017, 08:59:42 pm »
Jack is really hurting inside when they pick up their stuff and put it in the truck. Because he knows it's a repeated parting from Ennis. He is sooo sad and angry already. Then he hears that Ennis cannot make it to their next meeting in August - another blow for him. He is disappointed, crushed and - above all - angry. But he tries not to direct that anger to Ennis directly because i feel he understands that Ennis is doing his best.
That is a very moving interpretation!

By the way, for me it is harder to watch Jack's face at this point than his face upon Ennis driving away after the dozy embrace. While in the latter one Jack looks kind of determined and like he had calmed down or has accepted his feelings, in the former he looks like in real, great, great pain. May i post these two here?




He looks like so close to tears... Like he's knowing what Ennis is going to say and that it will hurt as hell - both of them. He wished they could stop hurting each other at this moment, but cannot help his feelings and need for some word of truth spoken either. The acting here is so so great.....

Sorry, this is my thread for trying to understand things, so i need to post all this.
Certainly, go for it, friend! I like your posts about Jack's facial expressions. I hadn't thought about it that much, and you descriptions help me understand Jake's performance better!

I know i wrote in a different thread that i think Jack would leave Ennis out of love, but i think i have to take that back. I don't think so anymore. I feel they would definitely stay together and Ennis would make some changes. For sure!!!
I agree!
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Offline BBM_victim

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Re: Please help me understand these
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2017, 04:37:05 am »
Hey, F-R,

You know i came to think of Jack's last shot that he's thinking "We got a do somethin' 'bout this food situation...". He looks just so determined. Which would lead to the conclusion that he was thinking about "quitting" Ennis, but as his dad said, it never came to pass. And i'm sure he would be there for November meet up.


Do you have any opinions on the original questions? Because i have another one now.

6. In the short story (at the beginning) where it says about Ennis having had a dream of Jack, it says "... lets a panel of the dream slide forward. If
he does not force his attention on it, it might stoke the day, rewarm that old,...". English being not my mother-tongue, this sentence seems to be contradictory. Does this mean that Ennis does *not* want the dream to "stoke the day, rewarm that old...", so he forces his attention on it by sliding a panel of the dream forward? Mm?  ???

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: Please help me understand these
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2017, 11:51:52 am »
6. In the short story (at the beginning) where it says about Ennis having had a dream of Jack, it says "... lets a panel of the dream slide forward. If
he does not force his attention on it, it might stoke the day, rewarm that old,...". English being not my mother-tongue, this sentence seems to be contradictory. Does this mean that Ennis does *not* want the dream to "stoke the day, rewarm that old...", so he forces his attention on it by sliding a panel of the dream forward? Mm?  ???

Americans are not very good about using pronouns and this is an example of that. I think that when Proulx wrote "it" she meant two slightly different things, so the sentence could read, "If he does not force his attention on what the dream means, the memory might stoke the day, rewarm that old..." And the reference to "a panel" of the dream was discussed at great length in an issue of Film Quarterly where artists' general penchant for "flattening" life in contemporary art (particularly Westerns) was discussed, including references to Richard Price and Madonna. I could go into other aspects of flattening, such as the flattened harmonica and Lightning Flat, but then I might get carried away again. I'll address your other questions in separate posts here.
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Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: Please help me understand these
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2017, 12:53:44 pm »
5. During the final lake argument scene Jack exclaims "Y'know, you had a fuckin' week to say some li'l word about this. Oh man, why is it we're always
in the friggin' cold?! We ought a go south where it's warm! You know, we ought a go to Mexico!". Just why does he go suddenly to complaining about the temperature?? Even in the short story it's the same. I cannot follow his thoughts / feelings at this moment... It feels so abrupt, sudden and out of place... Please enlighten me?
Jack and Ennis never say the word "love" to each other, and, indeed, Annie Proulx doesn't say it either, so she must rely on metaphors, similes and the like. Heat, light and fire stand in for love/passion and cold stands in for rejection and the death of love. The confrontation you refer to happens in May in the story, but May in Wyoming can be very cold. Just as they were parting after a week together, Ennis spills the beans about not being able to get together again until November, instead of August as they had originally planned. "What in hell happened a August?" Jack cries out. Was he thinking also about that August nearly two decades prior when they were parted by a premature snowstorm that didn't last an hour? I think so.
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Re: Please help me understand these
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2017, 02:01:16 pm »
4. When Ennis introduces Jack to Alma, i saw some pictures that Jack is standing in the kitchen. But in the movie that i saw Jack stays in the entrance hallway where the light is dim (he's in the dark again) and he keeps hiding his face below his hat - which is understandable in view of his excitement, probably can hardly breath and all. His eyes look so big from below that hat, his posture is somewhat bowed - he looks so suspicious like some kind of a criminal. If i where Alma i would be quite worried about Ennis being with this strange guy.... And after her "knowing" i would ask myself "THIS is supposed to be the guy whom Ennis is seeing??".
What do you think about Jack at this moment?
I think that scene was pretty well done. In the story, Jack was described as "trembling like a run-out horse" and Ennis could feel the floorboards shaking. They both didn't want to step into the kitchen, Alma's territory. Jake did make him look suspicious and he is suspicious. . .he is stealing Alma's husband right from under her nose! It's an awkward scene for all concerned. Ennis is also portrayed well by Heath with a sly smile and boldly staring at her. I'm sure their thoughts did not include consideration of Alma's feelings, just wanting to get out of there and on to their tryst.
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Offline BBM_victim

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Re: Please help me understand these
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2017, 08:35:46 pm »
"If he does not force his attention on what the dream means, the memory might stoke the day, rewarm that old..."

Mm... I still don't get it... Because Ennis "lets a panel of the dream slide forward" - means he is forcing his attention to it, isn't he? So, the consequence of forcing his attention to it would be (as per above) preventing the memory from stoking the day and rewarm old feelings, right? Means, he does not want the memory to stoke his day and those feelings to be rewarmed?

Sorry for being picky... For me it's an important part telling us how Ennis is feeling about Jack and the fact that he's forever gone (of which we don't have much in the story) and it just does not make sense...


I think that scene was pretty well done. In the story, Jack was described as "trembling like a run-out horse" and Ennis could feel the floorboards shaking. They both didn't want to step into the kitchen, Alma's territory. Jake did make him look suspicious and he is suspicious. . .he is stealing Alma's husband right from under her nose! It's an awkward scene for all concerned. Ennis is also portrayed well by Heath with a sly smile and boldly staring at her. I'm sure their thoughts did not include consideration of Alma's feelings, just wanting to get out of there and on to their tryst.

I guess you're right about all that. I guess it's what makes the scene realistic, huh. I just feel bad for Jack that he has now one more person (Alma) who has a bad impression of him and thinks badly of him. This was pointed out at different other threads, too. There are not many people who like/love Jack and comfort him, he's such a lonely soul and does not deserve it at all  :'(.

You know, if i were Alma, i would be so happy for Ennis after seeing him with Jack (in that state). I would invite them both for coffee / dinner / and what else and send them off into the mountains myself, giving a note "Don't worry about me and the girls, have fun boys! love, Alma;D Then we all could move to whatever ranch with cow and calf operation they want and live as a big happy family!!! I mean, maybe Alma's reaction to the whole thing was also a big factor on how it all turned out in the end. Well, not putting the blame on anybody here. It was just my very first reaction right from the start.

Offline BBM_victim

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Re: Please help me understand these
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2017, 08:29:59 pm »
Friends, i'm starving here................ Anybody, please?  :(

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: Please help me understand these
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2017, 10:32:14 pm »
Mm... I still don't get it... Because Ennis "lets a panel of the dream slide forward" - means he is forcing his attention to it, isn't he? So, the consequence of forcing his attention to it would be (as per above) preventing the memory from stoking the day and rewarm old feelings, right? Means, he does not want the memory to stoke his day and those feelings to be rewarmed?
I interpreted it as him being passive and just letting the dream play out.

I guess you're right about all that. I guess it's what makes the scene realistic, huh. I just feel bad for Jack that he has now one more person (Alma) who has a bad impression of him and thinks badly of him. This was pointed out at different other threads, too. There are not many people who like/love Jack and comfort him, he's such a lonely soul and does not deserve it at all  :'(.

You know, if i were Alma, i would be so happy for Ennis after seeing him with Jack (in that state). I would invite them both for coffee / dinner / and what else and send them off into the mountains myself, giving a note "Don't worry about me and the girls, have fun boys! love, Alma;D Then we all could move to whatever ranch with cow and calf operation they want and live as a big happy family!!! I mean, maybe Alma's reaction to the whole thing was also a big factor on how it all turned out in the end. Well, not putting the blame on anybody here. It was just my very first reaction right from the start.

I like to think that I would do the same! But, Alma is a poor young inexperienced ill-educated woman in a backwards state. The best she can do is to turn a blind eye to Jack and Ennis. Remember how she cried, hugging Alma Jr. and waving while watching the truck disappear in a cloud of dust?
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Offline BBM_victim

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Re: Please help me understand these
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2017, 01:10:59 am »
Hi Front-Ranger!

Thank you very much for your reply!

Regarding the dream - i still don't understand it. For me the sentence remains to be contradictory... But since there are only two of us here i don't know whether we can come any further on that (?)....

Regarding Jack being shot "in shadows" - what is your take on the motel scene? Why does Jack look like some kind of a puppet, far from a living being?...
Sure, you are not the one who shot this movie, but i would love to hear your associations with this!

Offline BBM_victim

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Re: Please help me understand these
« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2017, 01:18:59 am »
After Jack says "What we're gonna do now?" he doesn't move, he doesn't blink, i swear he doesn't even breath!! Can it be really a puppet in this shot?? Jake G not available? Maybe the scene was re-shot later? What IS this???

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: Please help me understand these
« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2017, 10:36:33 am »

Regarding Jack being shot "in shadows" - what is your take on the motel scene? Why does Jack look like some kind of a puppet, far from a living being?...
Sure, you are not the one who shot this movie, but i would love to hear your associations with this!

The first time I saw the Siesta Motel scene, I was surprised to see them in such an extreme closeup, but when I thought about it later, I decided it works that way. If it had shown more of their bodies, the focus would have been different when the scene was all about how they were trying to wrap their heads around this new development in their lives. Over the long four years each had realized the powerful hold they had on one another and now in the Siesta Motel it was all coming to a decision point. Jack is behind Ennis with his arm around him, which mirrors the dozy embrace later when Ennis was behind Jack. There is a blue light (assuming it is coming from a window) on Jack, while there is a warm light on Ennis. This correspond to the colors associated with each character. When Jack "pops the question" (What are we gonna do now?) to Ennis, he waits with bated breath for the answer. Ennis spurns him, unfortunately, and chooses the path of meeting, "Every once in a while, in the middle of nowhere." Jack's preference is for a sweet life with a little cow and calf operation so he is bitterly disappointed, but resigned to his life with Ennis, with Ennis keeping him on a short leash.
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Offline BBM_victim

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Re: Please help me understand these
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2017, 09:08:33 pm »
Hi F-R! Hope you had a nice weekend ;)

Thanks for your take on the motel scene, especially the lighting. I have not noticed that, but it makes sense!
I am not interested in their bodies  :D, but i wondered why Jack looks so scary in this shot. Why he don't even moves... I mean Jack is extremely happy to be reunited with Ennis and asks him about what they will do about it now. He's full of hope, yes. I can imagine he is in the same state as back on Brokeback when Aguire told them to come back - he is just convinced that it will all work out and they will be together. I suppose he does not have any idea of what kind of odds there might ever / even be. So, Ennis' answer must come as a surprise and shock. I just cannot think otherwise. But Jack's reaction is practically non-existent! No body movement, no head movement, not even blinking or opening the eyes or even smoking - nothing! Even when Ennis / Heath takes a draw at his cigarette his head moves and pushes Jack's / Jake's slightly, but even then - no reaction at all...

I mean, this is an important moment, right? [Please note Jack was *not* talking about the cow and calf operation yet.] Jack full of hope and expectation, but Ennis "shots his airplane down" (as in the story) and it is for me totally unnatural that there is absolutely no reaction from Jack.

Is this just a imperfection in an otherwise perfect movie?

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Re: Please help me understand these
« Reply #18 on: May 30, 2017, 11:43:13 am »
"stoke the day"

Woke up thinking about this phrase. Thank you, BBM-v, for reviving it. I'm gonna go out and stoke the day!!
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Offline BBM_victim

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Re: Please help me understand these
« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2017, 04:36:16 am »
Hey F-R!

Thanks for thinking of me  ;D
How did it go? Have you figured it out? It still gives me headaches.