Friday, June 15, 2018

Constance on the Edge depicts the struggles of a family of Sudanese refugees, who fled a warzone over a decade earlier and must now navigate their next stage of survival: everyday life in Wagga Wagga, NSW. Centred around Constance, matriarch of this extended family, the story captures problems with integrating into the community, troubles with the law, as well as PTSD, addiction, and other complex mental health issues.

At one stage in the film, Constance is speaking to a counsellor and struggling to understand how she could have escaped multiple wars and found safety with her family, only to be floored by depression and her children’s new difficulties. This is a documentary about the deep roots that grow from trauma. It reveals that when the fear of immediate death recedes, new wounds can rise to the surface.

Constance on the Edge isn’t without its faults. It features an unnecessary voiceover, and the story would benefit from a stronger narrative through-line. There’s so much happening – Constance’s experiences of court, mental health issues and racism, her son’s addiction, her daughter’s attempts to get into university, and her niece’s struggles to find work and meaning – that many events lose impact because they don’t get a natural rise and fall.

Still, Constance on the Edge rewards the time taken to watch. It provides a beautiful portrait of a survivor, and the family she survives for. - Mark Russell

  • Constance on the Edge screens at Armagh on Friday evening, 27 July 2018. See the event post here for details.