French director of La Riviere du Hibou, a short film with a twist in the tail
ROBERT ENRICO, who has died aged 69, owed such fame as he enjoyed beyond his native France to a single short film, running only 27 minutes, which he made in 1961.
La Riviere du Hibou, shot in black and white and set in the American Civil War, claimed top prize at a festival of short films in Tours in 1961, went on to take the Palme d’Or at Cannes the following year, and two years later won an Oscar as best short film under the title Incident at Owl Creek. The source was a story by the 19th-century American writer Ambrose Bierce, originally called An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. Few short films have taken the world by storm quite so quickly and spectacularly. Its appeal lay in the skill with which Enrico concealed the twist in the tail.
On a rickety bridge built across a river, a civilian is strung up for summary execution for partisan activities. At the last minute, the rope breaks;… read more