Thursday 6 June 2024

PREVIEW: "Boy": A Poignant Exploration of Youth Mental Health by Angel Constantinou

Angel Constantinou

Image: JV Publicity

By Jon Donnis

Angel Constantinou, a British screenwriter and director of Greek and Egyptian heritage, is set to make a remarkable debut with her short film, "Boy". Scheduled for release on Apple TV this July, "Boy" is not just a film but a vital commentary on the youth mental health crisis in Britain. The film is closely associated with "Young Minds" and "Doitfordrayke", two organizations dedicated to addressing the mental well-being of children and young adults.

Britain's youth mental health care is in a precarious state, with limited resources available in schools for supporting the well-being of young people. Constantinou's "Boy" tackles the heart-wrenching impact of suicide among children and young adults aged 10-24, highlighting the urgent need for increased awareness and support.

Drawing from her own real-life experiences, Constantinou weaves a compelling fictional narrative that is both dark and poetic. "Boy" delves into the turbulent lives of two boys, each grappling with their own challenging realities. The film masterfully captures their youthful movement through life, where time feels agonizingly slow, a stark contrast to the speeding years of adulthood. This perception is beautifully brought to life through the meticulous editing and cinematography of Reiko Nagayoshi.

The story follows Sam, a child carer with a disabled mother who faces bullying at school from Rick. Rick, in turn, is subjected to physical abuse by his stepfather, with his mother remaining a passive onlooker. This dual narrative sheds light on the complex family dynamics and broken relationships that can profoundly affect young minds.

Constantinou's multifaceted background, including her challenges as a full-time caregiver, mother, and live music artist, adds depth and authenticity to the film. "Boy" presents a stark, sometimes devastating portrayal of the realities faced by today's youth, making it a short film with a substantial impact.

As we anticipate the release of "Boy" on Apple TV, it stands as a crucial piece of art and advocacy. By shedding light on the pressing issue of youth mental health, Constantinou's debut aims to inspire change and provide much-needed support to vulnerable young people.