“Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”: And What An Occurrence It Is!

When a person loses freedom in every way imaginable, he loses it for good.

This is the meaning I infer from the Robert Enrico short, “Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” (1961), a well-known French-made film from a story by Ambrose Bierce.  Low-angle and overhead shots show us so many sturdy trees and so much grand river water, with perpetual bird and insect sounds, that it is almost as though the men in the film hope to compete with nature for something just as momentous.  So they intend to ceremonially execute a man (Roger Jacquet) who has committed wartime crime.  (The war is the American civil war.)  Somehow, in truth, a lawbreaker’s loss of freedom through death matters.

I have never read Bierce’s story, but if it deserves skillful film directing, it gets it from Enrico.

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