Day 154: Brief Encounter (August, 10)

Hello, there! Before talking about the movie of the day, I want to explain why some films are taking a little longer to be posted here. This week, I resumed my classes as a student at college, so my schedule is a bit busier than it was last semester, when I started OMAD (Thanks, Joe :). But the dare is still super on, and I hope it will keep this way till the very end of an amazing year with movies. 

To start the sixth month, in a particularly bad day, I chose a movie that was kept in my memory in a sweet way. Brief Encounter, by the beloved and amazing David Lean,  was referred here before when talking about Robert Altman, another filmmaker that I admire a lot. Altman saw life in Lean's movie, and was enthralled by it since its beginning. That was exactly my memory about this movie, that I've watched a really long time ago. 
My recollection was that Brief Encounter was mostly delicate and so, so beautiful. But all that was broken as glass when I watched it again on this day.

I don't know if it is better keep or loose all our illusions about something, especially a movie that we until now were in love with. Ok, it is part of life, you could say, but a sadder one. I remember Pocahontas meeting Captain Smith after years being apart, in Terence Malick's version to the story (it is outstanding, by the way). They had nurtured their love for so long, a love so precious that, still, doesn't prevent them to grow apart - and that realization is absolutely heartbreaking. I felt this way while meeting Brief Encounter again.

This time, the thing was that those two characters didn't look people to me. They are peons in a plot that wants to show something. The intentions are good, I think: a love story between two ordinary strangers, a love that doesn't move earth and sky, but it is not less for that. The cinematography is beautiful, the pace is suave... People around the couple keep on with their daily intrigues without noticing that those two are having their world rocked. This I can understand. What didn't make sense this time was why, in order to be ordinary, the main couple had to be nothing at all.

Laura is insufferable - I was constantly annoyed by her hysteric nonsense. Alec seems to be an interesting man, but that we can only assume, because he doesn't show who he is actually. Maybe I was too moody for any one's sake, but the last impression that I carried here was: this woman is boring as hell, and this guy only cares to take her to bed - without succeeding, poor devil. 

There's a dialogue between the two that was the nail in the coffin for me: Alec is saying passionately (or his version of it, I guess): I love you, I love you, I love you... Laura's reply? I want to die. 

Yes, exactly.

Ok, I'm mad and all, but I understand where this movie come from, its context, its specific time, that we cannot disdain. And one of the points in the film is that Laura felt undervalued by her husband, but she also had lost perspective concerning her marriage. I agree with David Lean in here: sometimes, our lives are so unsatisfied, and we usually don't look inside for its causes, we look outside for a solution. I see his conclusion to this tale a way to defend that we should try to ascertain our own reality before seeking a way out. However, there's a need for another but here: even trying to understand that, I think Lean, despite being a sensitive and amazing filmmaker, couldn't avoid being moralist and sexist in his views. Probably he wasn't aware of that, because our context and time can be a overpowered force on our imaginary. 

All this angry talk, though, and I'm still sad for losing a beloved movie to the dark side. 

If only the story could be so beautiful as the cinematography in this movie...

Brief Encounter. Directed by David Lean, from the play Still Life, by Noel
Coward. With: Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard, Stanley Holloway. Uncrediting
writting. UK, 1945, 86 min., Mono, Black and White (DVD). 


  1. Wow, that's sad, to break up with a movie like this. But don't let that keep you from re-experiencing movies you watched long ago.

    [ j ]

    1. Break up was a fit expression for what I felt... It was truly heartbreaking.

      David Lean is a filmmaker that you should look for. He is one of the best!