Brief Encounter (1945)


One of the great railway films is David Lean and Noel Coward’s Brief Encounter (1945).

Brief Encounter is a 1945 British film directed by David Lean about British suburban life, centering on Laura, a married woman with children whose conventional life becomes increasingly complicated because of a chance meeting at a train station with a stranger, Alec. They inadvertently but quickly progress to an emotional love affair, which brings about unexpected consequences. The film stars Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard. The screenplay is by Noël Coward, based on his 1936 one-act play Still Life. The soundtrack prominently features the Piano Concerto No. 2 by Sergei Rachmaninoff, played by Eileen Joyce.

Nowadays, the film seems remarkable for the stoicism and restraint of the protagonists. As the emotional temperature of the film rises; trains thunder though the station. The Freudian potential of railway trains and station platforms is made completely explicit. But, nothing much happens…

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