VICE Shorts

'The Cub' by Riley Stearns

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It can be strangely refreshing when an artist decides to get back to basics. Things seem clearer, easier to decipher, and simpler. They lock into what’s really important and go for it. Filmmaker Riley Stearns left society and traveled deep into the woods to find his story. Not only did he shred the story to its essentials, but the film's production as well. Four actors in one location with a few shots of nature sprinkled in to show time passing. This movie could’ve cost $50 to make, but he uses his stripped down budget to enhance its aesthetic. Most of the action occurs off-screen, that makes it all the more dynamic. Even the title of the film, The Cub, is explicit and direct. It’s the story of a five-year-old girl who reads at an eight-year-old’s level being turned over by her middle-class parents to a pack of wolves to learn “strength, self-reliance, and cunning behavior." The girl is timid at first, clutching to her father’s leg, but as he says, “[Wolves] can smell fear,” so she woman’s up. 

Jeffrey Bowers

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