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Kidulthood: A blueprint for UK cinema

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When Kidulthood was released in 2006 it kick-started a game-changing movie franchise that laid-bare the reality of British inner city life.

Kidulthood

Aside from its daring humour and innuendos, it examined every cliché about youth imaginable, such as juvenile sex, recreational drug taking, unplanned pregnancies and delinquency. Written and delivered in the vernacular of the streets, it was for inner-city youth because it spoke directly to them and not just about them. Us!

Kidulthood humanised young people.

It concluded that we could laugh and cry like Trife (Aml Ameen), love and lose like Alisa (Red Madrell) and constantly grapple between doing the right and wrong thing – as Moony (Femi Oyeniran), Jay (Adam Deacon) and most of the characters did whilst attempting to find their way in life.

We learned that it was alright to suffer duplicitous friends like Becky (Jaime Winstone), as long as you eventually cut them off and free them into obscurity.

And yet, through Sam (Noel Clarke) we come to eventually learn how and why we should not let our mistakes define us. The franchise was and is like a peer; like a wise teacher from whom there is much to learn and many experiences to share.

When Adulthood came out two years later in 2008, it performed exceptionally well at the UK Box Office during its opening weekend, racking up over £1 million and ranking above popular US blockbusters The Incredible Hulk and Sex and the City.

This was a major achievement by a British director which reaffirmed the sheer relevance of the youth narrative. There is no telling how much Clarke’s testimony inspired creative contemporaries all over the UK such as Cecile Emeke, Kemar Scott and Raymond Sichilima.

As this particular instalment’s core audience had grown a bit older and wiser by the time it was released, so had many of the characters in it.

Some of the UK’s best talent enjoyed a solid platform through this franchise. Grime scene staples like Bashy, Tinchy Stryder, Chipmunk and Dizzee Rascal were all in the early stages of their career when Kidulthood first came out, and all of their songs have featured on the movies’ soundtracks. This was before mainstream cottoned onto the genre and its marginalised scene.

The title track of the latest of the ‘Hood’ movies ‘BrOTHERHOOD’ is performed by grime’s certified sensation Stormzy, who also co-stars in the movie. Aml Ameen and Arnold Oceng (who starred as Henry in the last two films) have both crossed the pond and starred in successful US/Hollywood productions since.

With the Kidulthood franchise, a very big, preventative door was kicked down within the filmmaking industry with its legitimisation of a under-represented part of British youth culture.

This spurred similar pieces of drama to be created both on and off of the silver screen, creating an indelible legacy in the process. In 1991, the game changed with Boyz N Da Hood by John Singleton and it’s story of young, inner city kids and the struggles that they faced.

In 2006, the face of UK film changed forever with the Hood franchise by Noel Clarke.

Brotherhood will be released on 29th August across the UK and includes a supporting cast of Steven Cree, Olivia Chenery, Tonia Sotiropoulou, Nick Nevern, Adjoa Andoh, Arnold Oceng with Noel Clarke himself, at centre stage in this thrilling tale of reconciliation and redemption.

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