Arts & Entertainment
2 min

Featurettes

FAIRY-TALE MAKEOVER. Even though Margaret Cho (right) wrote the role of Bam Bam for her comic coconspirator Bruce Daniels (left), he almost didn't get the part.

Director Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) brings his winning touch to Brokeback Mountain. Based on the short story by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Proulx, the film is a beautiful, moving tale of love and loss.

It’s 1963 in Wyoming and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) meet working as sheepherders. They spend day and night amongst the stunningly picturesque landscapes, eventually growing closer. Much closer.

They continue the summer in their secret, insular world. But autumn arrives and the two must go their separate ways, each one marrying women and living unfulfilling lives. We see their love grow and mature through surreptitious meetings over the next 20 years but the pressures of keeping it a secret eventually take their toll.

With excellent performances and superb imagery, Brokeback Mountain is captivating.

You never hear hip-hop lyrics like, “Lick that guy’s ass crack,” or “Work that strap-on good” – unless you see Pick Up The Mic, a documentary about queer hip-hop artists. Following seminal groups like Rainbow Flava and Deep Dickollective plus new artists like Johnny Dangerous, Katastrophe, JenRo, QBoy and Miss Money, the film gives a personal spin to a lot of talented artists (along with some not-so-talented artists). Watch as Miss Money’s preacher father turns a blind eye to her queerness or Katastrophe’s teenage fans are oblivious to him being FTM.

So how come these people don’t find mainstream acceptance? The doc fails to answer that question but does do a good job of surveying the entire scene.

Whether you believe that hip hop is the way of the future or just another style that queer kids are copying, this doc will surely fascinate.

Celebrated director François Ozon (8 Femmes, Sous le Sable) returns to gay turf with his latest Le Temps qui Reste (Time To Leave), the story of Romain (Melvil Poupaud), a photographer who learns he has cancer and only a few months to live.

Devastated and cheerless, his first response is not to tell anyone. After passionate sex with his boyfriend he facilitates an awkward breakup and then, at his family’s house for dinner, he picks an ugly fight with his sister complete with name-calling and crying on mom’s shoulder.

Yet Romain simmers down and eventually comes out about his illness to his grandmother (played by Jeanne Moreau) because they are both “close to death.”

This one’s as French as they come – self-involved, destructive, with a soupçon of hopelessness. It lacks the drama and complexity of Ozon’s previous work but still, it’s a fascinating look at one man’s downward spiral.