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Show and Tell: Cubs (2006)
Introduction Citizenship Citizenship English History  
image from Cubs (2006)

Cubs was made a year after the controversial hunting ban came into force and can be used as an example of how fiction films can respond to and feed into topical issues.

Why not start by looking at the significance of context when analysing films? Encourage students to make the link between the hunting ban and the film's production. Do students think that their response to the film might have been different if the debate about hunting was still raging in the public sphere? Has the film lost some of its impact because the discussion around the legality and morality of hunting is no longer as prominent as it once was?

And what about the film's message. Director Tom Harper has been quoted as saying that he believes filmmakers have a ' responsibility to tell a story that needs telling'. What story is Cubs telling? Do students think that this is an anti-hunting film or are the themes of gang-violence and peer pressure more significant? One of the best ways to tease out students ideas about the film's meaning is to challenge them to write the DVD tagline - can they encapsulate the Cubs' central premise in a single line or paragraph?

Alternatively, the film offers a starting point for looking at either the hunting ban or the debate about gang-culture in more detail. What do students know about these topics and how does the film influence or inform their views?

Finally, interrogate the question of the power of fiction film to shape public opinion. Ask students to list other examples of films and TV programmes that have used topical political, social and cultural issues in their storylines. Why do they think that current affairs are so often represented in fiction and what are the advantages and disadvantages of this? This might be followed by a browse through other Screenonline collections such as Politics and Film to develop students' understanding of how controversial issues have been dealt with on film in the past.

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