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Cubs (2006)

Courtesy of Free Range Films

Main image of Cubs (2006)
35mm, 10 min, colour
Directed byTom Harper
Written byTom Harper
Producer Lisa Williams

Cast: Harry Eden (Ben), Tara Hodge (Davis), Jared Garfield (Joe), Ashley Walters (Karl)

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A gang of inner-city youths has discovered a dark new sport.

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Funded by Film London and nominated for a BAFTA in 2007, Cubs is a rites-of-passage tale in which a gang of youths hunt foxes though a nocturnal urban jungle.

The action centres around the character of Ben, who, along with his childhood friend Davis, is desperate to join an inner-city gang led by an older boy, Karl. However, after being picked to join the evening hunt, Ben struggles with the rituals involved in his initiation into the group.

Employing a hand-held camera style and a distinctive urban soundtrack, Cubs looks and feels like any other 'gritty urban drama' in its opening sequences. However, it is the twist of inner-city fox-hunting that really gives the film its punch. By transposing what is historically a rural drama into an urban setting, the film directly emphasises the violence of what is often characterized as a 'harmless countryside tradition'.

Karl and his acolytes may have Staffordshire terriers instead of beagles, but in their red Barbours and flat-caps they bear more than a passing resemblance to the traditional huntsman. At the same time, Cubs still tackles issues of gang-culture and peer pressure by drawing attention to Karl's menacing power and the unsettling impact that the hunt has on Ben. It's worth pointing out, however, that the teenagers' violence is directed solely at the fox, which is finally dispatched with a single gunshot before the gang is forced to flee the police.

Director Tom Harper has since gone on to direct episodes of ITV's teen gothic drama Demons (2009) and embarked on a move into feature films.

Poppy Simpson

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Video Clips
Complete film (9:48)
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