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Darkness Visible (2006)

First Light Movies

Main image of Darkness Visible (2006)
video, 8 mins
A film byLuke Cloake
 Ashley Fyfe
 Ellie Head
 Hannah Temple
 Mikyla Wilson
Production CompanyThe Living Archive in association with First Light Movies

An exploration of mental health issues and young people.

Show full synopsis

Darkness Visible explores some of the issues surrounding young people with mental health problems, in particular their vulnerability to stereotyping and the lack of public awareness about mental illness in general.

Made by a group of teenagers from Milton Keynes and in association with First Light Movies, Darkness Visible was clearly conceived in the context of a wider debate about young people's mental health. The film opens with sound montage of news reports about the significant increase in the prescription of psychiatric drugs for children in recent years and although the film doesn't tackle this topic head-on, it does question why there is such a lack of open discussion about an issue that effects one in four people in Britain each year.

Darkness Visible attempts to challenge this silence and in doing so, offers a glimpse into the personal worlds of people suffering from mental illness. The documentary uses a range of techniques to convey their sense of isolation and confusion, mixing live-action sequences with standard interviews and factual narration with contributors' poems. One girl describes her growing fear as she noticed herself becoming paranoid and prone to obsessive behaviour, while an older interviewee admits he was unable to face his mental illness until he had given up his 'buffers' of alcohol and drugs.

As much a call to action as a documentary, the young people involved in making the film were reached through and supported Milton Keynes Child and Adolescent Mental Health service and were given guidance by professional filmmaker, Chris Bradley.

Poppy Simpson

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