Friday, April 10, 2009

Learning to ride a bike and an intro to BRIEF ENCOUNTER (76)

When I was little I used to be kind of a terror on a bike. I had this tiny little red-and-white checkered Peugeot that I would just bomb all over my neighborhood with. There was a particular fence and a particular bank of mailboxes that I must've crashed in to hundreds of times. For whatever reason though as I got older I stopped riding bikes, or wheeled things in general. It wasn't because I was infatuated with driving (hell I didn't get a license until three days before my college graduation"), it wasn't because I was scared of the things (that came later), it wasn't because of, hell, I don't know, bikes and I just parted ways.

Now I live in San Francisco this city swarmed with bikes and bike culture and I'm getting a bike. Ask Good Man Freytag, he'll tell you, I was impressively imposed to the whole bike thing for years and years and years. Aggressively opposed even, but something about this city and Alex's love for bike riding and the fact that waiting for the bus at 4:30 in the morning sucks like testicle punching I'm buying one. I'm going to move past my fears and my qualms and I'm going to buy a fucking bike and I'm going to ride that two-wheeled monster like it's my job. It gets my heart beating a little fast even thinking about riding with or alongside traffic, but if I didn't do all the things that made my heart beat fast, I'd be a sad little man.

I saw Brief Encounter (76) a long time ago in a depressed state when I lived by myself in Portland, OR in a tiny, empty apartment, jobless and without many friends and for some reason, even though it's sort of a British version of Revolutionary Road it cheered me up. It made me love movies and Criterion and David Lean and the inky blacks of a romance steeped in film noir traditions. It took my mind off the fact that I was consuming canned soup for every meal and that Top Ramen had started to taste like rubber.

I've yet to crack it yet for this go around, but I thought I'd give you at least a little back-up history on the film. This is a David Lean movie, he of Lawrence of Arabia and a slew of relatively big-budget Charles Dickens adaptations that I thoroughly enjoyed in the early days of my quest. He also did Bridge on the River Kwai and a whole sit ton of other interesting flicks and this little gem was the last in a series of films he put together with the famed playwright Noel Coward. This is a famous film, the type of movie that people compare to a British Casablanca and is still sighted by many as one of the great films of the day. It's also a downer of a flick, but beautifully shot, and beautifully acted, and there are still scenes in the misty shadows of the train station that pop up in my dreams.

The story follows an adulterous romance that forms in the brief encounters had at a restover stop at a train station. I won't ruin anything, but I'll say this, it doesn't end well.

If you're looking for a film to join up on the Quest, which I'm sure absolutely none of you are, this is a good one.

Monday: Brief Encounter (76)

1 comment:

griffdog said...

Do you remember you rode that thing til you broke the frame and then rode it some more. That was an ET bike if you remember . . so why don't you phone home?