Forgotten Films

The Tribe (1996)

Not the Australian teen soap but the drama that after its first television broadcast in the mid-90s became popularly known as the place to see Anna Friel naked. Steven Poliakoff's The Tribe has become something of a cult film and is one of the few works on this list to not even grace the VHS release in the UK. As the imdb describes it: "A ruthless property developer dispatches Jamie (Jeremy Northam) to evict Emily (Joely Richardson) and her followers from a housing estate by whatever means necessary. However, Jamie discovers more than he bargained for when he tries to execute his orders."

In other words, he finds that actually this cult seems perfectly reasonable from a certain point of view and he slowly becomes intoxicated by their psychological freedom. Within there's a very complex discussion of how society tends to object to behaviour that is slightly out of the norm if the prevailing wind is in the other direction, a theme that's prevalent in much of Poliakoff's work. He's pretty careful not to portray any of the sides too sympathetically, and in shots were the tribe drift on mass through the urban landscape, clad in the leather, they're perfectly menacing, making the objections of other residents perfectly understandable.

All of the performances are top notch and it even features an early appearance from Laura Fraser, who I still have my fingers crossed will make it really big some time soon. Produced by BBC Films for theatrical broadcast it's appeared a couple of times on BBC Two in Screen Two strand, which is when I managed to snatch a recording. Miraculously, there has been a region one dvd release, but that has been deleted. Amazon have some copies in their marketplace.

No comments: