An incident at Owl Creek Bridge is a beautiful 25 minute film based on the book ‘An Occurrence at Own Creek Bridge’ by Ambrose Bierce. The film is directed by Robert Enrico. The story talks about a man (Peyton Farquhar) who is about to be hanged by the military. As the rope is tightened around his neck, the man experiences flashbacks of his beautiful wife and his two children. We journey through his memories and his escape fantasy. The man imagines the rope breaking off as he falls and he escapes his predicament and returns back to his family. However, as soon he reaches her, he stiffens and his head snaps back. The camera brings us back to the reality where the man is hanging from the rope.
The passage of time over the film is strange and runs back and forth between the man’s memories, his fantasies and the present. The man does not have control over his desires and memories that flood him. I think this depicts the fact that none of us have any control over how time flows. The speed of time also differs in the movie. The man is hung within a couple of seconds, yet his fantasies and memories that run through his head are shown at normal pace. Time in cinema is an interesting concept. Cinema allows us to twist time as we like it – With some scenes going slow and some fast. The pace of time also determines the mood of the scene. We may also understand from the film that we are all going to eventually run out time, whether it is a few moments or a few days, or even years and any attempt to control time will fail, even if we are fantasizing.