Italian TV Transforms Brokeback Mountain into a straight tale of friendship
Posted on December 11, 2008
Filed Under Uncategorized
Italians tuning in to their state TV network this week had a rare chance to see Brokeback Mountain, the tale of true friendship between two straight cowboys.
At least that was the version of Ang Lee’s gay cowboy Oscar-winner that was broadcast by channel Rai Due: two love scenes between the male protagonists had been excised, cuts which provoked furious accusations from gay-rights groups of censorship driven by creeping homophobia in Italy.
“The need to change a film about homosexual love into a film about simple male friendship says a lot about the current cultural climate,” said Franco Grillini, president of Gaynet.
La Repubblica noted that the cuts – involving a kiss between actors Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal and a love scene in a tent – came days after the Vatican attacked a European Union proposal that the United Nations formally condemn discrimination against gays.
But Rai yesterday claimed the cuts were an honest mistake and promised to broadcast the full version of the 2005 film. “Since it went out after the watershed we could have shown the full version but did not have the copy,” said Rai director general Claudio Cappon. The copy broadcast, Rai said, had been supplied by a distributor for use before the watershed.
Opposition senator Luigi Vimercati called the explanation “embarrassing” and said he would demand a parliamentary inquiry.
Critics noted that while the gay love scenes were removed, censors left a heterosexual sex scene in Monday night’s version. “Evidently it is not sex which creates fear and pain, but the feelings between two men,” said Grillini.
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