Leading article: Brief encounters

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The Independent Culture
WHAT ARE we to make of a country from its choice of favourite films? The British have voted for their top 10 British movies. And it transpires that most of what they like is black-and-white, and made in the immediate post-war period - the top one (The Third Man) has two Americans as its stars, and the second (Brief Encounter) has a married woman doing the decent thing by her spouse.

Should we conclude that the country is hopelessly nostalgic? That it is still obsessed with the last war? Or that the voters are probably right: the golden age of British film was the Forties. Trainspotting and the gritty world of modern film only edges its way in at number 10. Still, although it and Get Carter and The Crying Game may not be easy viewing, they are in the top 30.

The one ingredient lacking in the list is sexual violence. Eroticism is there all right (consider Madeleine Carroll taking off her wet stocking with Robert Donat handcuffed to her); the repressed sexual longing in Brief Encounter still gives cold railway stations a hint of romance. And Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland in Don't Look Now didn't leave much to the imagination. But they were married, and loving. Maybe things aren't so bad after all.