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5 brief romances with `Weekend' director Haigh

By Christy Lemire
AP Movie Critic / September 29, 2011

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LOS ANGELES—The indie romance "Weekend," in theaters in limited release, is a sweet, wistful glimpse at a love that could have been from writer-director Andrew Haigh.

It follows the brief but intense relationship between two young, gay men who meet in a boozy haze at a London club on a Friday night. They go home together, then spend the next couple of days having sex, taking drugs, sharing stories and forging a quick but genuine intimacy. It's shot with an engaging naturalism and written with a bracing honesty.

So since we liked his film so much, we asked Haigh to join us in the Five Most space this week to pick his favorite ticking-clock romances and elaborate on his choices. Don't wait -- see these movies before it's too late:

-- "Brief Encounter" (1945): From director David Lean, the ultimate tale of strong passions lurking underneath the repressed British exterior. The film ends with the famous scene at the train station when the two characters are heartbreakingly robbed of their final goodbye. (It was) written by Noel Coward, and there have always been rumors that it was really about two men, and if you watch it now in that context, it makes wonderful sense.

-- "Last Night" (1998): Directed by Don McKellar, an end-of-the-world movie told with quiet simplicity. One of the stories follows two strangers, played by McKellar himself and Sandra Oh, who end up spending their last hours together. As the clock ticks away, they realize how much they like each other, and the final moment when they realize that they have actually fallen in love -- as the world ends around them -- is devastating.

-- "Before Sunset" (2004): The second of the two films from director Richard Linklater is my favorite. It is a story of regrets and missed chances. Watching Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke roam the streets of Paris articulating all the things that might have been, you can't help but wish that things could have been different. You can't help but hope that this time it will, in fact, be different. You hope that he will not catch the plane back to the U.S., that he will stay.

-- "Quiet City" (2007): From director Aaron Katz. A girl gets off a train and tries to find her friend but instead spends 24 hours hanging out with a stranger until she can track her down and get on with her life. Their time together is like a breath, a space. It is unpretentious, poetic and authentic. It is like watching a relationship develop right there in front of your eyes.

-- "Lost in Translation" (2003): From director Sofia Coppola, another limited-time-frame story with return flights to catch for both the characters. A non-romantic romance that is just as important as a love affair. I love the way this film feels like time suspended, existing outside of their lives, lost in the haze of jet lag. You know it will not drastically change either character's lives but you just know that in some, almost inexplicable way, both are deeply affected by their time together.

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Think of any other examples? Share them with AP Movie Critic Christy Lemire through Twitter: http://twitter.com/christylemire.

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