A Short Film Review: “Francis”

Not too long ago the NPR radio program This American Life asked six writers to come up with short stories with the theme of “adventure” as their prompt. Dave Eggers, who is probably most well known for his memoir A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius, came up with a fireside tale that could easily be retold to scare young campers. That story was called “Francis”.

The story is about a girl who is camping with her family in Quetico Provincial Park. The girl, Francis, is a bit of a rebel and decides at night to take a rowboat out onto a nearby lake by herself so that she can get a better view of the stars. However, once she’s out on the lake, things start to go wrong.

Eggers’ story was turned into a short film which was directed by Richard Hickey and narrated by Cameron Kelly. What I found interesting about this adaption was that they didn’t take the story and try to flesh it out by adding characters and dialogue or anything like that. Instead they just set images to the story as it was written. I don’t think this is an approach that can be taken all the time (especially for a story that is of any length), but I thought this adaption did a nice job of emphasizing the power of the original narrative by highlight and enhancing it with some great imagery.

I definitely recommend checking out the film, and since it’s only about seven minutes long, there isn’t really much excuse not to. So what are you waiting for?

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