The Queer Gaze

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One of the things Manusco talks about is the gaze of both the main characters and the audience as well. I think that this is a prominent queer aspect to the movie that continues throughout its entirety.

Because they can only act on their feelings when they are in private, much of the interaction between Jack and Ennis relies on thier eye contact, or lack thereof. From their first encounter, things are a bit awkward. Ennis barely looks at Jack when they're waiting for the boss to show up at the trailer. It gave me the impression that they already knew something was going to happen, and Ennis was just trying to prolong the inevitable. Meanwhile, Jack is taking sneak peaks at Ennis through his car mirror.

There are also scenes, like when one is naked and taking a bath, and you can tell of the internal struggle of the other to look or not to look. And if he does look, what does that mean? And if he doesn't look, is it because he's forcing himself not to?

The audience is also put in this position at the same time. A viewer might be forced to confront his or her own homophobic thoughts and then ask, "Do I enjoy watching this movie? Is this scene making me uncomfortable? Why or why not?" And we are also put in to the movie as viewers through the eyes of the boss and through the eyes of Alma. They give a negative view of the relationship, but for different reasons. Alma isn't so much disgusted by the queerness of their relationship, but just by the fact that she is being cheated on by someone she clearly loves. The boss, on the other hand, is rather homophobic.

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The eyes truly do say a lot in this movie. I felt that the gaze of Ennis and Jack was consistently longing for each other. Even when the two were mad at each other, their eyes said that they truly wanted everything to work out, they just felt trapped by society.

I also felt throughout the movie that Ennis and Jacks' gaze toward women was forced when it pertained to love and lust. For example, when Jack and Lureen slow dance at the bar after the rodeo, Jack looks at her as though he is just trying to be polite and maybe strike up a polite conversation, while she clearly has other intentions. Later when they go back to the car, his eyes say that he is uncomfortable.

When Ennis and Alma have sex, I felt like Ennis' eyes said that he was angry about the situation he was in, and I guessed that he probably imagined sex with Jack during these encounters to make it seem more believable.

Throughout the movie, I always believed this was a representation of queer cinema because of what Ennis and Jack's eyes said to each other and to other people. They were truly in love, just forced into lies by the suffocating time and place.

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This page contains a single entry by jacksavvy_ccs published on April 9, 2012 10:03 AM.

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