‘The Shoe Tree’ is a touching short, directed by Ian Cottage, based on the growing relationship of a boy and his grandfather. When young Jaanus is dropped off at his Grandfather’s small cottage, he is rejected by his elder and sent off alone, having to defend himself when he comes across some bullies. When Jaanus explains what happened to his grandfather he tries to help but it just leads to another spat, until a near death experience finally brings the two family members together, forming the bond the boy so deeply wanted.
This was one of my favourite short films I have seen in recent time. Shot in Estonia, the beautiful setting allows the audience to feel the boys rejection and loneliness, but also portrays the warmth and joy he feels when he and his grandfather become close. The bright colours of the forest and their surroundings are phenomenal and the remote location shows the intensity of the boys solitude, but makes you feel the connection more because it amplifies the pair’s closeness.
The themes in The Shoe Tree along with everything else is shown excellently. The main one being family values. A promise is made between the two and the fact that it is kept gives rewards and shows the meaning of family, that no matter what may happen, they will always keep their word and be there for you.
The performance from the actors within The Shoe Tree are very good. I thought Jaanus Sildam, the young boy who played Jaanus, was perfectly cast. He held the emotion throughout the film incredibly well. He also worked very well along side Peeter Jakobi, who plays the grandfather. Jakobi played his role extraordinarily. Before he connected to Jaanus, I always felt that there was something he was hiding, giving him an edge, making the audience constantly interested. When we see a deeper side to him, which causes the relationship to blossom between the two, it feels like we are seeing the grandfather coming out of his shell and being more comfortable around his grandson, once again promoting strong family values which are widely relatable.
To conclude, ‘The Shoe Tree’ is an amazing short film that I would recommend everyone to watch. The narrative is strong and gripping and keeps your attention through out. The cast and setting are beautiful and really allows the audience to feel the emotions and themes running through out the humble tale. It is truly a marvellous short film.