White Feather

1919, the Great War is over, but when a young man is handed a white feather for being a Conscientious Objector, memories come flooding back.

Genre: Drama

Length: 9:03

Free To View

4.5 out of 5 stars

Producer/s : Daniel Arbon, Charlotte Ellen

Director/s : Daniel Arbon, 

Writer/s : Daniel Arbon, 

Actor/s : Robert Moore, Penelope Wildgoose

 

This film was made by writer-director Daniel Arbon as a tribute to his grandfather George Arbon, a committed Christian who became a conscientious objector in the First World War. He was branded a coward for being willing only to save lives, but refusing to take them. There was nothing cowardly about serving as a stretcher-bearer, facing the enemy’s shells and bullets alongside the fighting troops, and all the while refusing to pick up a rifle.

For the fictional George, the stain doesn’t go away. Even after the war ends, he is given yet another white feather, symbol of “cowardice”. He keeps them in his bible.

To make an authentic period drama for a mere £2,500 plus huge help from crew and supporters, is a remarkable achievement. Ash Connaughton’s cinematography, the Edwardian costumes, and the beautiful English village landscape matches the best the BBC could do. The trench scene manages to make four men, and a ton of mud serve for a whole battlefield.

Robert Moore is excellent as the unassuming George, and Arbon directs and edits with a sure hand, keeping a lot of story tightly into ten minutes without seeming hurried. It only stutters when, after the camera follows George walking to a chocolate box country cottage to deliver some crockery, the dialogue with the lady customer seems static and stilted. The other issue is the story structure, which shows George receiving the feather before showing his endurance and bravery in the trenches, when he leads a run to rescue a wounded soldier stranded in no man’s land. The injustice of the feather would have been more poignant if we’d seen his bravery first.

But these are minor caveats for a film that artistically, technically and thematically reaches levels few shorts even attempt.

No screener available