Brief Encounter (1945)

“Brief Encounter” (1945)


two worlds

where this stands, and from where i see it now, this film seems to be about several displacements, and how we deal with that.

this was 1945, but the canon is still pre-Kane, pre-war. For how it portrays love, and its impossibilities, it belongs with Casablanca, and what came before. The world, and the British, were reinventing themselves, after the war, and this world, of having to choose between passion or conventions was soon to be dead. But the play is from 1937, and was kept pretty much unchanged in what it depicted. So this film is as much in between worlds, in between conceptions of love, of cinema, of social conventions, as Rachmaninoff is a modern mind living in a Romantic world.

To me this is a tragedy wearing a romance’s clothing, but as a film, this one is dated. don’t misunderstand me, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Simply new codes were invented, new (or simply different) demands were infused in the audiences. To our modern ability to see, the film is overly staged, the acting is overly dated. But we do have a great female interpretation by Celia Johnson, and that sure is a strong point, because the film depends a great deal on us buying our way into the world as seen by Laura. And we do, at least i did.

But Lean is, or was to become at this point, a great director. I wouldn’t see him going so far as he did if i’d seen this movie when it was new. He relies on the heritage from older days, from expressionism, and from more recent ones, from Toland/Welles and their than recent experimentation with composition and lighting. This cinematographer would shoot The Third Man, and that’s tells us something. Still, and still considering Rachmaninoff, and Lean, i think these two mirror each other in how their work, at its best, builds images, extremely over the top, but incredibly pure and powerful. Landscapes. What Lean would give us, his Arabia, his grand vision that opposes desert to intimacy is not even hinted. Not here, where he still lives in a world of intimacies, of repressed feelings, of unachieved visions, like the visions of Paris and Venice that Laura imagines without ever getting them. Here, in this film, it’s Coward’s vision that overcomes every other vision, that’s what we’re kept with: the critic to hypocrisy, the contrast with the natural and pure flirtation of the “lower” class, the veiled hint of homosexuals in the character of Stephen.

What will stay with me is the smoke and smell, and the refreshment room. This is a film about trains, passing each other, crossing, never ending, random lives submitted to useless moral and an outdated world, that exists no more. mismatching. memories.

My opinion: 3/5

This comment on IMDb


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