In the year marking Rachmaninov’s 150th anniversary it is appropriate to include a screening of the great classic of British post-war cinema, Brief Encounter. This is the film that brought attention to his second Piano Concerto, which is heard throughout the movie and which launched it as the most popular piano concerto of its time.
After a chance meeting on a train platform, a married doctor (Trevor Howard) and a suburban housewife (Celia Johnson) begin a muted but passionate, and ultimately doomed, love affair.
With its evocatively fog-enshrouded setting, swooning Rachmaninov score, and pair of remarkable performances (Johnson was nominated for an Oscar), this film, directed by David Lean and based on Noël Coward’s play Still Life deftly explores the thrill, pain, and tenderness of an illicit romance, and has influenced many a cinematic brief encounter since its release.
David Lean director