Written and Directed by Daniel Arbon, WHITE FEATHER is based on the true story of Arbon’s great-grandfather.
The year is 1919 in Peterborough, England. The Great War is over and George Ernest Arbon (Robert Moore) is trying to rebuild his life and his business.
He takes a long walk out of town with a crate of crockery to be examined by a potential customer.
The lady (Penelope Wildgoose) is pleased with his wares but near finalizing the sale, recognizes the man as a local Conscientious Objector (a person who refuses to serve in the armed forces or bear arms on moral or religious grounds). She returns with a White Feather – a symbol of his Cowardice.
As the feather floats down before him, memories of the last three years come flooding back to George. The public scorn, the tribunal and his service in the trenches – testing the courage of his convictions.
One of the first things that is clear about this film is the high caliber in which it was made. The color palette of the film has a warm hue that makes for visual beauty. Arbon has gone to great lengths in his attention to detail in telling his great-grandfather’s story.
A double entendre with church bells opens the film. The use of sound is exceptional in the bombing/explosion scenes. Cinematography (Ash Connaughton) captivates and takes us back in time. The ensemble cast is wonderful – especially a strong performance by Moore.
The film comes in at 9 minutes. It would have been nice to extend the time and see a longer version of this story. It’s intriguing and leaves you wanting more.
A poignant moment in the film is when George is in the trenches hearing the examiner’s words in his mind – “should they threaten your wife and child would you use force…would you use force…yes or no?”
While placing another white feather in his bible, George asks the question for all of us -“What is courage exactly – if we cannot hold to our convictions.”