Episode 5

Brokeback Mountain (2005) and Secretary (2002)

The fifth film in our Risqué Romance cycle is Ang Lee's western romance, Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Special Guest: Amanda Jane Stern - writer, actor, and producer from New York City. She wrote, produced, and starred in the new erotic thriller Perfectly Good Moment, soon to be playing at a film festival near you!

When Brokeback came out in the mid-Aughts, it was supported by effuse buzz and whispered homophonic jokes. This was not unlike the release of The Crying Game in the early 90s. Both films were from smaller studios and gained traction due to their misperceived salaciousness. Looking back on Brokeback, the film's reputation is bizarre and totally ill-fitting. The film is a quiet and slow mediation on how love blossoms quickly but then withers for decades only to constantly reemerge through turned soil, like a perennial bud. Its loss to Crash at the 2006 Oscars for Best Picture feels more and more criminal with every passing year. Brokeback Mountain is one of Ang Lee's enduring masterpieces alongside Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

For our chaser film, we reexamine the 2002 film Secretary, which felt like a slight curiosity on release but plays totally differently now. Very much a hidden gem.