Everyday My Dad Dies tells a disorienting tale of love and loss. The trance-like short muddies direction; events seem linear, retrospective or even supernatural. A combination of confusion, humanity and physicality immerses us in grief.
The young athlete’s story is told in an hypnotic style characterised by throbbing music and monotony. The audience views a series of physical events: training, weigh-ins, wrestling, cutting weight. Events repeat as the father deteriorates, to form a story that seems linear, remembered and imagined. This narrative is immersive, overwhelming and unrelenting, as if every day his dad dies.
The short heightens the numbing quality of grief by emphasising familial love. Poignant father-son affection characterises moments of vulnerability after the ‘masculine’ activities. During exertion-triggered asthma attacks, the father strokes his son’s back as their heads touch. We see a flash of a reflexive paternal smile as the father watches his son win a wrestling match. These small moments combine to emotional effect.
Every Day My Dad Dies builds on the previous qualities through wonderful visual storytelling. The lack of spoken word in this quiet film hints at the often silent yet physical struggle with grief. Instead the emphasis is on the physical: actions, postures and facial expressions. In the most vocal scene, the funeral, condolences begin as voiceovers, joined by visuals. Yet most effective is when the voices quiet and the boy stares into helpless expressions of pity. Afterwards he silently struggles with physical exertion, mirroring inner turmoil. In the final scene the protagonist is helpless in a chokehold, a physical symbol of his grief.
Every Day My Dad Dies is an effective and moving short film. It explores a father-son relationship and the visceral ramifications of grief through an obfuscating narrative touched by searing moments of humanity. The result is simple yet overwhelming.
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CAST: Frank Voudy IV, Sarah Melick, Peter Speach
DIRECTOR: Steven Rico
WRITER: Steven Rico
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Doug Durant
MUSIC: Jeff Thomas
SYNOPSIS: Every Day My Dad Dies explores the grief of a young wrestler.