Author Topic: Brokeback's filmic structure a palindrome ?  (Read 32033 times)

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Brokeback's filmic structure a palindrome ?
« Reply #40 on: March 20, 2008, 10:18:26 am »
*bump*

Cool old thread! Thanks for bumping. 8)


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Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Brokeback's filmic structure a palindrome ?
« Reply #41 on: September 18, 2008, 01:06:09 am »

I apologize if this question has already been brought up at some point.  And, who knows why this question popped into my head tonight.  It was one of those wacky things where I was doing dishes and all of a sudden an Open Forum- type question popped into my head.

Anyway, so within the palindrome/ bookend/ ink-blot structure theory of BBM there's a pretty clear understanding that most scenes (or concepts or images or props, etc.)  from early in the film have and echo or mirror in the later part of the film.  And, that the swing-set scene where Ennis and Alma are arguing is the center point.

My question is, what do folks think is the bookend for the "you may be a sinner"/ "opportunity" conversation between Ennis and Jack that happens right before TS1?

The only thing that comes to mind at the moment is that maybe the "what are you waiting for, cowboy, a mating call?" scene might function as the bookend.  Both the "you may be a sinner" scene and the "mating call" scene seem to be about people flirting with Jack.  This of course hinges on a viewer accepting that Ennis's quip about "ain't yet had the opportunity" and the eye contact with Jack constitutes an Ennis-form of awkward flirting.  And, of course both scenes are followed rather quickly by a sexual encounter.

But, I'd be interested to hear what other people think is the bookend for the "you may be a sinner" scene.

:)

the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie

Offline Penthesilea

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Re: Brokeback's filmic structure a palindrome ?
« Reply #42 on: September 18, 2008, 02:08:45 am »
Anyway, so within the palindrome/ bookend/ ink-blot structure theory of BBM there's a pretty clear understanding that most scenes (or concepts or images or props, etc.)  from early in the film have and echo or mirror in the later part of the film.  And, that the swing-set scene where Ennis and Alma are arguing is the center point.


On the risk of being nit-picking: I wouldn't say it that way. Agreed on the inkblot part, but there are two theories which scene is the center: one is the one you mentioned, the swing-set scene. Others see Ennis in the mirror (when packing for their very first trip) as the center.
This one:





Quote
My question is, what do folks think is the bookend for the "you may be a sinner"/ "opportunity" conversation between Ennis and Jack that happens right before TS1?


From the top of my head, the scene with Jack and Randall on the bench (after the charity dance) comes to my mind. At the moment it's just a spontaneous idea, haven't thought it through yet.
Will come back later to this.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: Brokeback's filmic structure a palindrome ?
« Reply #43 on: September 18, 2008, 08:41:12 am »
From the top of my head, the scene with Jack and Randall on the bench (after the charity dance) comes to my mind. At the moment it's just a spontaneous idea, haven't thought it through yet.

I have to give it more thought, too. But right off the bat, this seems like an excellent possibility, Chrissi. It's a very similar scene, only with Jack in the Ennis role. And chronologically, it seems to fall in about the right place.


Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Brokeback's filmic structure a palindrome ?
« Reply #44 on: September 18, 2008, 09:50:03 am »
Thanks Chrissi and K!

Thanks for these suggestions.  I think the Randall/ bench scene certainly could be seen as some kind of bookend to the sinner/opportunity scene.  I think this one, though, is particularly difficult to figure out because the exact nature of the dynamics in the sinner/opportunity scene is particularly ambiguous, I think. 

Chrissi, I love the pic of Ennis in the mirror.  It's such a perfect visualization of the idea of palindrome or mirroring.  But, I also think that compelling argurments can be made that the swingset scene with the inkblot pattern on the swingset is the center point.  Either way, these two scenes (Ennis in the mirror and the swingset) are close enough together in the structure of the film that both come near the center.

And, K, I'm curious about how you see Jack in Ennis's role in the bench scene? 

To me both the sinner/opportunity scene and the bench scene are about folks flirting with Jack.  And, this is based on my sense that Ennis's  "ain't yet had the opportunity" line is his fumbling attempt at flirting (and he may only be semi-aware of it anyway).  I think there are lots of other ways to interpret that line, so it's certainly tricky.  If the bench scene is the bookend, it's interesting that Randall's activity of flirting is significantly amplified.

One thing I really like about the suggestion of the bench scene as the bookend is Jack's lack of verbal response in each case.  Jack does not verbally respond to Ennis's "ain't yet had the opportunity" and he also does not respond verbally to Randall on the bench.  Both conversations are sort of left dangling.

But, I still think that the "mating call" scene functions in a similar way to the "opportunity" and bench scenes.  Timing-wise it probably comes too early in the film to be a perfect echo to the "opportunity" scene.  But, it's interesting here too... in an instance where someone is flirting with Jack, he does not reply verbally.  He turns his head and looks, but doesn't immediately respond.

the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie

retropian

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Re: Brokeback's filmic structure a palindrome ?
« Reply #45 on: September 18, 2008, 10:24:36 am »
WOW! What a great thread! Amazing ideas and observations. It takes previous discussions about bookends to another level.

I particularly like the juxtaposition of the early scenes on Brokeback with the visit to Lightening Flat. In an old thread on IMDB (I think it's archived here) there was a discussion about Brokeback as a sacred space. And another thread along the same lines about the Twist house(started by CasyCornelius too, sigh, I really miss Casey). This thread brings them together in my mind.

Brokeback has been compared to Eden. It was Jack and Ennis's sacred place. It is where their love grew. I think that is why the greenery and beauty of Brokeback was made to contrast to life on the dusty plains. One is verdant and alive, indicating how their love enlivens them, it's a force of nature. Life away from each other is barren and dry and loveless. Brokeback is where Ennis experiences love for the 1st time, The Twist house is where he experiences another powerful life altering emotion: grief. But, the Twist home, too is a sacred place. Casey compared it to a sepulcher. It is a place of grief, but unlike Brokeback, which is nature, a sepulcher is man made, as is Ennis's grief.  The comparison of Ennis climb up the stairs with the climb up Brokeback really hits me as significant. In both Ennis discovers something important about himself and Jack. In both he has to manage potential dangerous older men. In both he is ministered to, on Brokeback by Jack in the "come upon a bear" scene and by Mrs. Twist in the Kitchen scene. Both Jack and she reach out and touch Ennis. The young Ennis pushes Jacks hand away, the older Ennis gratefully accepts Mrs. Twists gentle touch. Wow, there is no end to this, just why I love this movie.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2008, 06:03:10 pm by retropian »

Offline Meryl

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Re: Brokeback's filmic structure a palindrome ?
« Reply #46 on: September 26, 2008, 07:11:44 pm »
WOW! What a great thread! Amazing ideas and observations. It takes previous discussions about bookends to another level.

I particularly like the juxtaposition of the early scenes on Brokeback with the visit to Lightening Flat. In an old thread on IMDB (I think it's archived here) there was a discussion about Brokeback as a sacred space. And another thread along the same lines about the Twist house(started by CasyCornelius too, sigh, I really miss Casey). This thread brings them together in my mind.

Brokeback has been compared to Eden. It was Jack and Ennis's sacred place. It is where their love grew. I think that is why the greenery and beauty of Brokeback was made to contrast to life on the dusty plains. One is verdant and alive, indicating how their love enlivens them, it's a force of nature. Life away from each other is barren and dry and loveless. Brokeback is where Ennis experiences love for the 1st time, The Twist house is where he experiences another powerful life altering emotion: grief. But, the Twist home, too is a sacred place. Casey compared it to a sepulcher. It is a place of grief, but unlike Brokeback, which is nature, a sepulcher is man made, as is Ennis's grief.  The comparison of Ennis climb up the stairs with the climb up Brokeback really hits me as significant. In both Ennis discovers something important about himself and Jack. In both he has to manage potential dangerous older men. In both he is ministered to, on Brokeback by Jack in the "come upon a bear" scene and by Mrs. Twist in the Kitchen scene. Both Jack and she reach out and touch Ennis. The young Ennis pushes Jacks hand away, the older Ennis gratefully accepts Mrs. Twists gentle touch. Wow, there is no end to this, just why I love this movie.

Excellent, excellent points, retropian.  Thanks.  8)

And I miss Casey, too.  How could we not?  :-\
Ich bin ein Brokie...

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: Brokeback's filmic structure a palindrome ?
« Reply #47 on: October 11, 2008, 03:22:04 pm »
Gaaa...I wish I could see the word palindrome like I used to!!  ::)
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Offline Sason

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Re: Brokeback's filmic structure a palindrome ?
« Reply #48 on: August 19, 2016, 05:33:08 pm »
What a great thread!

Someone linked to it a while ago, and I have now read through it all for the first time.

Lots of food for thought and great insights, even after all these years! Isn't that amazing?  :D

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Offline Meryl

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Re: Brokeback's filmic structure a palindrome ?
« Reply #49 on: August 21, 2016, 01:24:49 pm »
What a great thread!

Someone linked to it a while ago, and I have now read through it all for the first time.

Lots of food for thought and great insights, even after all these years! Isn't that amazing?  :D

I'm glad you brought attention to this thread again, Sonja! I just re-read it and loved the feeling of being back on the mountain.

That old, cold time on the mountain, when they owned the world and nothing seemed wrong.
Ich bin ein Brokie...