This post will be the last in the series of Brokeback Mountain screencaps....
In the film, Jack and Ennis have just had what will be their final argument. Ennis breaks down in abject, anguished misery ("It's because of you, Jack, that I'm like this -- nothing, nobody...").
Jack, whom I am convinced has been working himself up in this scene to tell Ennis he's had enough and is going to try and make a real start with the ranch foreman, relents. He comes to Jack to comfort him. Ennis, as usual, tries to push Jack violently away. Jack, in his signature style, hangs on. Ennis falls to his knees, Jack holds onto him.
Ennis' agonized collapse always reminded me of a wounded animal going down, after it has been shot. (Yes, I sobbed every time I watched this scene.) But he recovers, they say goodbye, and he drives away.
As Jack watches him go, the memory of the "dozy embrace" from their first summer comes to him. In that memory, it was Ennis who came up behind Jack and embraced him, initiating a relaxed, deep hug, as if he were Jack's solid, comfortable support. How things had changed.
Here is a re-posting of Jack’s memory of the “dozy embrace” from the short story:
What Jack remembered and craved in a way he could neither help nor
understand was the time that distant summer on Brokeback when Ennis had come
up behind him and pulled him close, the silent embrace satisfying some
shared and sexless hunger.
They had stood that way for a long time in front of the fire, its
burning tossing ruddy chunks of light, the shadow of their bodies a single
column against the rock. The minutes ticked by from the round watch in
Ennis's pocket, from the sticks in the fire settling into coals. Stars bit
through the wavy heat layers above the fire. Ennis's breath came slow and
quiet, he hummed, rocked a little in the sparklight, and Jack leaned against
the steady heartbeat, the vibrations of the humming like faint electricity
and, standing, he fell into sleep that was not sleep but something else
drowsy and tranced until Ennis, dredging up a rusty but still usable phrase
from the childhood time before his mother died, said, "Time to hit the hay,
cowboy. I got a go. Come on, you're sleepin on your feet like a horse,"
and gave Jack a shake, a push, and went off in the darkness. Jack heard his
spurs tremble as he mounted, the words "See you tomorrow," and the horse's
shuddering snort, grind of hoof on stone.
Later, that dozy embrace solidified in his memory as the single
moment of artless, charmed happiness in their separate and difficult lives.
Nothing marred it, even the knowledge that Ennis would not then embrace him
face to face because he did not want to see or feel that it was Jack he
held. And maybe, he thought, they'd never got much farther than that. Let
be, let be.
For reference, here is the actual colour and exposure for this scene on DVD, shown in this unretouched cap:
~ Screencaps from the drowsy embrace, before the fire up on Brokeback:
Brokeback Mountain Links Page HERE