From the film-maker:
I was intrigued by the artist’s unusual representation of the event – the scene is not just about the depiction of the suffocating bird, but is as much about the reactions of the surrounding people. I wanted to explore the idea that, particularly in the modern age, the need for spectacle and audience reaction often takes precedence over moral or ethical considerations.
For me the painting’s immediate energy comes from the uncertainty over how long the bird can survive in the flask, and ultimately whether it will live or die. I tried to interpret this feeling cinematically, with a sense of media-induced emergency to the editing, music and overall pace of the film, which builds to a fever pitch towards the end – whilst still not giving a conventional resolution to the story.
A piece inspired by Joseph Wright 'of Derby', An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump,1768