Film-maker Kevin Smith has lavished praised on Ang Lee's cowboy romance Brokeback Mountain, hailing Heath Ledger a "genius".

The CLERKS director was moved to tears watching Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal's doomed love affair in the film, which is up for eight Oscars next month (MAR06).

Smith says, "This ain't just the gay cowboy movie: it's the saddest flick I've seen all year. And I love sad flicks.

"Heath Ledger's ENNIS exists - that's how genius his non-performance was. Great film."