★★★★ Directed by: Thomas Griffiths Starring: Jac Horwood Documentary Film Review by: Rachel Pullen
Hockey...get some...go team...other loud sporting chants...yeah okay sports, we get it.
I like sports, who doesn’t? Be it from watching a professional game, to getting together with pals or your team to play, you can’t deny they are a huge part of our culture, I even spent at least 10 minutes in a pub this year when England played in the World Cup. It was traumatizing to say the least, people took off their tops and yelled a lot, I didn’t get it.
But I admired their passion in the moment [but not the fashion, coloured wigs and face paint should never be a choice from your wardrobe unless you’re a clown], sport brings us together as a community as well as playing a therapeutic role for fans as well as the players, it gives us focus, drive and a sense of achievement, and this is something that often we overlook when we think of organised sporting events.
Short film Sticks and Feathers is an examination of the pivotal role that sports can play in someone's life, in this case, a young man called Jac, who has lost his father due to cardiac issues.
Not only has he had to face this hardship, he also runs the risk of developing the same cardiac problems which would inevitably put an end to his true love...playing hockey.
This short is conducted like a storytelling session, we hear Jac reliving the time of his father's death, his involvement in the sport of hockey and its importance in regards to helping him deal with his emotional anxieties, as well as his spiritual connection he feels with his father after his passing.
Director Thomas Griffiths has a delicate style of shooting, picking intimate close ups of the places where Jac plays hockey, as if we too have a relationship with the sport, with the pitch, with Jac’s life.
His style reminds me of Andrea Arnold’s 2011 Wuthering Heights, focusing on the details of the surroundings, using nature and the overlooked details of a location to build up a sense of emotional attachment and connection.
Jac’s story is compelling and inspiring, his determination to continue to play hockey despite the threat to his health speaks volumes for his character, but as well as that we see his sensitivity and vulnerability, we feel his desire to connect with his father even after his life has been taken from him, making us instantly feel empathy, feel a connection, drawing us into this short piece of work.
An enjoyable and moving short, beautifully shot with great skill and attention to detail, Sticks and Feathers is a story of how sometimes the little things really can help us overcome the big.