Author Topic: Brokeback's filmic structure a palindrome ?  (Read 27634 times)

Offline serious crayons

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Re: Brokeback's filmic structure a palindrome ?
« Reply #20 on: May 05, 2007, 06:09:41 pm »
I'm envisioning a long scroll of paper that we can put up on the wall at the BBQ and colored markers with circles and arrows, as Arlo Guthrie sang about once upon a time. The header? "Palindromes in Brokeback Mountain"!!

Lee, I love that idea. A long strip of butcher paper with markers and a timeline, and people can fill in all their observations about mirrors, echoes, bookends, palindromes, inkblots, symbols, metaphors, significant colors, yin and yang, references to mythology, The Aeneid, the Bible ...

That would be fun!

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: Brokeback's filmic structure a palindrome ?
« Reply #21 on: May 06, 2007, 01:55:27 pm »
I'm packing my markers now, ineedcrayons! Oh, and...crayons, of course! As for butcher paper, with all this meat I'm buying, that should be a piece a cherry cake!!

When you see the smiley face in the sky, the pandemic will be over!

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: Brokeback's filmic structure a palindrome ?
« Reply #22 on: May 07, 2007, 10:06:54 am »
(A poster on IMDB once mentioned that a bag of bread is present in both scenes.  Opaque—like Ennis—in the first.  Transparent—like Ennis—in the second.)

Who was that person anyway? I bet ineedcrayons knows!

When you see the smiley face in the sky, the pandemic will be over!

Offline serious crayons

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Re: Brokeback's filmic structure a palindrome ?
« Reply #23 on: May 07, 2007, 11:02:23 am »
I do know. The person is here now, a very insightful and frequent poster who recently changed his/her name. I believe his/her name at IMDb was the same as his/her original name here, which was the name under which s/he posted about the bread-bag change.

I'll leave it somewhat opaque, because I'm not sure which name s/he would prefer used in this context.

Offline TOoP/Bruce

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Re: Brokeback's filmic structure a palindrome ?
« Reply #24 on: May 07, 2007, 11:31:26 am »

The carved wooden horses at the beginning and the end of the film fit neatly into the palindromatic structure theory.  Similar parallels of flies on Aguirre's face ("count aint what I'd hoped for")/ Ennis's face -- both flies arrive at a time when Ennis and Jack are experiencing hostility toward each other.  There also seems to be similar symmetrical construction parallels in the observation and delayed confrontation with concealed knowledge scenes (Aguirre/Jack, Ennis/Alma).  hmm.

« Last Edit: May 07, 2007, 11:36:53 am by bjblakeslee »
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: Brokeback's filmic structure a palindrome ?
« Reply #25 on: May 08, 2007, 04:54:55 pm »
I'll leave it somewhat opaque, because I'm not sure which name s/he would prefer used in this context.

The original poster of that brilliant opaque bag/transparent bag insight has given me permission to use her name: it's adiabatic. Which I'm happy to reveal, especially because it gives me an opportunity to also point out that she made this observation in her very first post here.

Here's the original post:

http://bettermost.net/forum/index.php/topic,795.msg36366.html#msg36366
« Last Edit: May 08, 2007, 05:40:20 pm by ineedcrayons »

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: Brokeback's filmic structure a palindrome ?
« Reply #26 on: May 09, 2007, 10:56:33 pm »
I shoulda known!! <Front-Ranger hits self on head> I hope I can get a few brain cells back before the BBQ! All these grocery lists have been driving me batty!! (Okay it's really all the birthday celebrating!!)

When you see the smiley face in the sky, the pandemic will be over!

Offline TOoP/Bruce

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Re: Brokeback's filmic structure a palindrome ?
« Reply #27 on: May 20, 2007, 12:26:33 am »
There is also symmetry in the scene with Ennis in the alley when compared with Ennis leaving the Twist family house in Lightning Flat.

In both scenes, Ennis isl alone and missing Jack, and in both scenes Jack has been subliminally suggested:

In the alley scene, we see a figure in the clouds that suggests Jack driving away.

As Ennis leaves the Twist house in Lightning Flat, if you look very carefully, Jack's name is spelled out subliminally across the screen.

The J is in the reflection of the truck window.
The A is the triangular dormer on the house.
The C is in the cloud over the house.
The K is buried and trails off in the angular mass of trees to the right.
Former IMDb Name: True Oracle of Phoenix / TOoP (I pronounce it "too - op") / " in fire forged,  from ash reborn" / Currently: GeorgeObliqueStrokeXR40

Offline RossInIllinois

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Re: Brokeback's filmic structure a palindrome ?
« Reply #28 on: May 20, 2007, 10:26:35 pm »
OMG This thread cracks me up.. :laugh:

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Re: Brokeback's filmic structure a palindrome ?
« Reply #29 on: June 26, 2007, 03:26:33 pm »
A number of posters - lauragigs, Amanda, Daniel and miniangel started a discussion about the symmetries in Brokeback in Amanda's  'loveable subtle details' thread, but I've transferred the content here so that it does not capsize Amanda's worthy thread.  Let's go brokies - hoping that the above members will repost their replies and keep this going !!


I'd affirm miniangel's notion that the film folds in upon itself with such certainty that I feel it is something we need to explore more.   We've spent hours seeking out bookends and mirrors which are obvious and evident throughout the whole film, but I'm convinced that these are all arranged in a symmetry which miniangel has alluded to.

I've always been obsessed with the idea that the film is exactly symmetrical around a central image which has haunted me since about my 5th theatrical viewing of the film. 

At precisely the 1:07:59 timing of the film, there is a shot of a determined, purposeful Ennis entering the bathroom in his Riverton apartment, toothbrush in mouth, to retrieve something from the medicine chest .  As he opens the door bringing its mirror into view of the camera it creates an image of his face mirrored symmetrically in the centre of the frame. This is followed immediately by a reverse shot from the rear of him exiting the bathroom which exactly mirrors the previous shot of him entering.  If you trace outwards from that moment, one can track plot, verbal and visual elements which are exactly symmetrical on either side of that moment which is close to the precise mid-point of the film's 2:14 running time.  SIDEBAR- I've always thought of that singular, striking bathroom mirror shot telegraphing at a deeper level, Ennis's acknowledment of his abandoning the staid, conventional marriage to Alma and the start of his commitment to a giddy, headlong relationship with Jack.  For all intents and purposes, one life is at that precise point irrevocably replaced by another.


In addition to those pointed out by miniangel my initial random observations would see :
1 - the Jimbo the Clown scene mirroring the Mexican Alley scene, Jack attempting to pick up another man;
2 - Alma and Ennis innocently frolicing in the snow mirroring the Thanksgiving debacle with the snow gently falling outside- the first and last times we see her together with Ennis in the film;
3 - exactly tracing out from the previous elements - Ennis self-inflicting pain on himself in the Signal alleyway, whimpering inchoately and yelling at an anonymous by-passer miiroring his picking a fight with an anonymous truck driver with the unconscious intent of stupidly inflicting pain upon himself with the beating in the road
4 - Ennis picking a fight and kicking with a balletic kick the biker in the presence of Alma and his daughters at the Riverton July 1 fireworks mirroring his picking a fight with Alma in the presence of his daughters and kicking over the ash-bucket with a balletic kick as a substitute while the girls play on a swing-set [with its appliqued star decals a possible visual symmetry with the fireworks, but that might be a little too much !]
5 - the obvious one which we've all mentioned of the opening and closing scenes taking place in similar looking trailers, Aguirre's and Ennis's, but adding to this the idea [discussed just last night in the chat room with Ellemeno, Meryl, Amanda and others] that the first meeting of Jack and Ennis has elements of a marriage ceremony mirroring the discussion of the same in Alma Jr's marriage to Curt.
6 - the final shot with the wind blowing through the grass visible in the open window on the right hand side of the frame balancing the icons in the closet on the left of the frame as homage to Jack's intensely felt absence from Ennis's life mirroring an opening shot of the film with Jack's  impressive, confident profile on the left side of the frame balancing the wind blowing through the grass visible on the right side, the first time Ennis ever laid eyes on Jack.  This use of symmetry within the frame is an obvious use of a technique championed by Michelangelo Antonioni, a film-maker whom Ang Lee has declared one of his major influences.

Just a few thoughts "for what its worth", but I am convinced that these are not random.  True, it could be argued that the film uses so many of the same visual and verbal elements throughout that there is bound to be some repetition.  But I have a gut feeling that the exact symmetry of the film which reads to me like the equivalent of a palindrome is an intentional structural feature by Ang Lee much as composers such as Bartok and J.S. Bach have been shown in musical analysis to have mapped a similar two-dimensional symmetrical structure on top of the fluid chronological, psychologically experienced medium of their multi-movement compositions such as the Music for Strings Percussion and Celeste or the St. John Passion.


Casey
Here is the "pivotal" scene:

When you see the smiley face in the sky, the pandemic will be over!