Begegnung (1945)

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Begegnung: Directed by David Lean. With Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard, Stanley Holloway, Joyce Carey. Meeting a stranger in a railway station, a woman is tempted to cheat on her husband.

“The person who wrote the first review of this movie must be either a complete moron or has an acute lack of appreciation for what constitutes great moviemaking.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eu0026quot;Brief Encounteru0026quot; is the perfect encapsulation of a very specific time in both womenu0026#39;s and British history. The immediate post-WW 2 era in the UK was a period that saw Brits struggling with the disppearance of traditional social mores that had endured for over a century and the new world order that came about at the conclusion of the war. (For another, beautifully crafted cinematic example, see Neil Jordanu0026#39;s exquisite movie u0026quot;The End of the Affair.u0026quot;)u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eFood rationing was still in place in postwar Britain. Women were having to deal with getting to know their menfolk again, after their years of absence at war. Like their American u0026quot;Rosie the Riveteru0026quot; counterparts, British women had enjoyed newfound and unfamiliar independence during wartime, working for the war effort. And, like their US u0026quot;sistersu0026quot;, they were expected to relinquish those jobs to returning men.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eu0026quot;Brief Encounteru0026quot; is, in many ways, a metaphor for the struggle that men and women were going through, stuck with having to conform to social expectations while bursting to escape to the greater independence glimpsed fleetingly and pleasurably during the war, when everything and everyone were turned upside down.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eBeing the work of Noel Coward, that master observer of and commentator on English manners, u0026quot;Brief Encounteru0026quot; frames this struggle as a torrid love story bubbling under the surface of British reserve, which demands maintaining appearances at all costs, regardless of the personal pain involved.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThis passionate pair, who never even exchange a kiss, are constrained and ultimately kept apart by expectations–of their families, of their social positions, of Great Britain.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eWhen Alec puts his hand on Laurau0026#39;s shoulder at their final, unexpectedly truncated meeting in the station snack bar/waiting room, itu0026#39;s as erotic and far more touching than just about every sex scene youu0026#39;ll see in movies.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe first reviewer completely missed the point and the relevance of this movie in film history and, especially, in British cinema history.”

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