Any fan of classic cinema has the name of David Lean engraved on fire. Those less regulars also keep in mind the name as one of the great masters of epic cinema who was looking to get the most out of what we all know as the big screen. ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, ‘Doctor Zhivago’ or ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’, which take the word “show” to its ultimate consequences.
The latter consequences, at times, led to very long durations that challenged the integrity of the bladder in case they decided to see them in one sitting. Therefore, it can be embarrassing to approach him. But another of his essential classics couldn’t be more opposite to all of those and, nevertheless, feel just as overwhelming and worthy of being named “epic”. It is about the romantic drama ‘Brief Encounter’.
On platforms such as Amazon Prime Video, Filmin, FlixOlé or PlutoTV we can enjoy this magnificent jewel cited by many other great filmmakers as an influence, the most recent (and surprising) case being Park Chan-wook in relation to his premiere ‘Decision to Leave’. Whether for its interesting structure (more daring in the 1945 in which it was released), for its emotional power or for the exquisite character work, the film has everything to want to take notes and learn his tricks.
We begin with a mysterious introduction at a train station, where a man and a woman are interrupted by an acquaintance of hers. We don’t know who they are or what they were talking about before the unwelcome interruption before they parted ways, but soon we are told of their passionate but inappropriate romance.
Both already have their respective families, and an established order. Their meeting is fortuitous, a coincidence caused by a slight incident that unexpectedly breaks the ice. From there an intimacy and feelings as intense as irrational are built. We see through her her attempts to maintain secrecy from a relationship that shouldn’t be happening.
‘Brief encounter’: beautiful intimacy
That secrecy helps give a slight air of intrigue to what is otherwise an excellent drama. Lean makes the last adaptation of him for a Noël Coward play after making three consecutively to start as a director. This one in particular is worth, in addition to fully maturing as an author and storyteller, to make a sharp dissection of the context of moralistic repression Lived in UK at the time.
With the well-measured pieces, we enter perfectly into the mental and emotional state of the characters, fabulously defined through moments, interactions loaded with intention. Its finale also awaits a powerful punch that rounds off the commentary on contention by social conventions and dissatisfaction with marital and adult life. But It is the emotion on the surface that makes every moment of the film essentiala sample of the best Lean knowing how to show the emotional swing of our protagonist with images and sound.