Cinema Language

“An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” is over 120 years old and still tells a good science fiction story. Each version tells its story effectively, but the video tells it more efficiently. The written story gives more background about Peyton Farquhar and his motivations along with an account of his intended crime, but these are not actually relevant to the story being told. We simply need to know that he was convicted of a crime and has a desire to return to his family, nothing else revealed about his character becomes relevant in the events of his escape. Nothing about his plantationing or his political views or sympathies to the South, in fact he could have been a factory worker from the North and the story wouldn’t change in the slightest. The only background information that is important to the story we are given in the establishing shots of the video, there’s a crime and Peyton is being executed. Aside from the history of Peyton the two stories mirror each other very closely. And for a video based on a written story it does a great job of being faithful to the original. The video shows each scene happening as the story has told it, the driftwood slowly flowing downstream, the ticking of the watch growing louder and digging into his mind, and making sure to note his injured hand when he made it to shore. The video even does well conveying each indication that what we’re seeing is not what is real, adding in each breadcrumb, confusing runaway scenes, suddenly manifested injuries, fantastical landscape, and the run to his wife that seemed to always be farther away than it should have been.

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