Capital Celluloid - Day 94: Tuesday Apr 5, 2011

Brief Encounter (Lean, 1945): Haymarket Cineworld, 6.30pm

There are certain films that can survive critical brickbats. This is assuredly one of them. Some would have you believe this is a sterile, emotionless movie; others that the premise is ridiculous, that Laura (Celia Johnson) should have left Fred (Cyril Raymond) for Alec (Trevor Howard) and had done with it.

The movie, which was not that successful in its day, survives and indeed thrives because so many have surrendered to it and find the despair at the heart of the tale overwhelming. Richard Dyer, in his BFI Film Classics monograph on Brief Encounter, sums the feelings of those who love this film thus: "If you don't feel the melodramatic pull of the film, then everything fits just a little too neatly and rigidly, the life has been squeezed out of the film by the meticulousness with which it has been put together. But I do feel it."

Brief Encounter is number 12 in Time Out's recent poll of Best British Films and Happy-Go-Lucky star Sally Hawkins will be on hand to introduce the movie.

Here is an extract.

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