Screen Rant presents an exclusive clip from Young Plato, a documentary that explores how education can lift up a battered Northern Irish community.
Screen Rant is pleased to exclusively present a clip from the latest Soilsiú Films production, Young Plato, which will have its theatrical release beginning September 23 at the New York Angelika Film Center. Directed by Neasa Ní Chianáín (known for School Life) and Declan McGrathn, the new documentary is set in post-conflict Ardoyne, a working-class and Catholic area of Belfast. Having gained notoriety during The Troubles, it is now a marginalized community dealing with poverty and too much access to drugs and guns.
Young Plato follows Headmaster Kevin McArevey as he attempts to lead the Holy Cross Boys Primary School towards a life of critical thinking and empowered vision. Using the Greek philosophers as an educational touchstone, he and his team encourage the students to question the baser instincts that have been ingrained in them by a decaying environment and instead fight the violence in their surroundings with education and equanimity.
In Screen Rant‘s exclusive clip from Young Plato, the kids in the classroom engage in a discussion of “peace walls.” These lines or walls are meant to keep the Protestant and Catholic communities of Northern Ireland apart, as the former are primarily loyalist and unionist while the latter tend to be republican and nationalist. But when questioned about the utility of said walls, the children give surprisingly wise answers that belie their young age. Check out the full clip below:
When a boy named Colm suggests that the two parties make peace and accept that they are one family, another one pipes up politely that at least the separation is not as bad as years ago. As they dive into the nuances of politics, religion, and social upbringing, each of the students comes up with their own reflection on how easily the two opposing sides could be unified and what it would mean if they were. As they engage in the Socratic Method, answering questions from the teacher to test their own hypotheses rather than being given right answers off the bat, the reason for calling the film Young Plato becomes self-evident.
Young Plato has already been selected for several film festivals and received awards at most of them, and soon it will be available to wider audiences who wish to learn from Headmaster Kevin McArevey. The fight for him is personal, as his upbringing in working-class Belfast led to many turbulent encounters he hopes his students will not have to repeat. And while his story is a very specific one, it speaks to communities everywhere who have allowed strife to take over the minds of their youth instead of seeking the best way forward for their children.
Young Plato will have its theatrical release in New York’s Angelika Film Center on September 23, followed by a regional expansion on September 30 at participating Angelika locations.