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British Film - Brief Encounter (1945)

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Uploaded on Aug 2, 2009

Despite being set before World War 2 and reflecting the social upheaval of that time, 'Brief Encounter' has, to modern audiences, also come to symbolise the difference in attitudes to adultery between then - put most simply as the pre-1960s - and now - our post-sexual revolution, Permissive, increasingly post-religious society. Having met initially by accident on the platform of Milford Junction (actually filmed at Carnforth Station in Lancashire due to problems with air raids over the south of England...there was a war on!) Laura Jesson (Celia Johnson) and Dr Alex Harvey (Trevor Howard) slowly fall in love over tea and cakes at the station buffet. Meeting for a second time having been forced to share tables at a busy cafe, this sequence finds the couple in high spirits arriving at the cinema during Alex's regular Thursday afternoon off. A time away from their partners they both share...
What is it about their cinema trip that makes Celia feel guilty? What other symbols of guilt does Celia meet in this sequence?
What's ironic about the film trailered to be shown next week?
In what way does the conversation between the two working class characters, Myrtle Bagot (Joyce Carey) and her assistant Beryl (Margret Barton) reflect on the situation Celia and Alex find themselves in?
In what way does Alex and Celia's conversation about his job reveal underlying attitudes to women at the time?
The film is told from Celia's point-of-view. What effect does the voice-over have in positioning the audience?
What effect does the mise-en-scene have generally on the audience and particularly the central setting in a railway station tea-room?
How does this sequence reflect an experience of society shared by many men and women then, and to a lesser extent, now?

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