Sunday, February 12, 2006
The most important thing, the thing eclipsed by the noise over the man-on-man action is the suffering of men revealed. Of all the films I've seen where men experience the worst sadness imagined, none give it up quite like this one, which is key I think to why so many women are having their guts ripped out in the theaters these days.
Many women aren't used to seeing this side of men, but it's there of course. In fact many women could probably say they see themselves in this film, in these men. And I say this with the utmost respect for women whose tears I've always admired, as tears, especially public tears take real guts. It takes far more courage to expose the nerves than to cover them with brutality, or shield them with a stiff jaw. At times it seems we're so busy admiring men because they own the world that anything they do is seen as superior. But women have always had my vote.
Tears are a strength, and some of the worst days of our lives are those days where we don't let them out when they need to come out. There's something about suffering in silence that's sure to kill us, sooner or later.
The most horrible men on this planet need to cry. How can Bush not shed tears when he sees what is taking lives each day from his actions in Iraq? People dying, people suffering for their dead, it's literally a daily report of agony. How can he live with this? Centuries of practice behind his facade.
Men have relied on women for too many years to do the keening for the dead and wounded, it's time to share this burden out loud. Shedding tears leaves you no option about facing yourself because when the tears arrive you have already come to the place where you break open, PINCHED into your total human need, to love, be loved, it's as difficult as it is freeing.
BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN is one of the best movies I've ever seen for many reasons, but for me the best reason is that rare window into men suffering for Love (extremely dangerous Love), men pushed to their limits, then pushed beyond those limits. No film has left me with such a splitting headache from crying so much as this one, but the next two on my list would have to be WAKING THE DEAD, and HAPPY TOGETHER. I've only seen these three films once, and cannot imagine subjecting myself to ever seeing them again because they are just too damn good at portraying suffering, as they drag you in and pummel you senseless.
p.s. Kevin Varrone reminded me in an e-mail this morning that the football player Mean Joe Green sang that song "It's alright to cry" on Free to Be You and Me. Wow, wish I could hear it right now!