2 items from 2013
Oscar Wilde is uncharacteristically muffled in “The Selfish Giant,” an abstruse contempo interpretation of Wilde’s Christian fairy tale, but writer-helmer Clio Barnard’s voice comes through loud and clear. A jaggedly moving study of a feral adolescent (astonishing newcomer Conner Chapman) on a rough journey to grace, the pic is ostensibly more conventional than Barnard’s acclaimed hybrid-doc debut, “The Arbor,” but exhibits stunning formal progress nonetheless. Though her tender-tough worldview arguably hews closer to that of Shane Meadows, this demanding but eminently distributable art film should elevate Barnard to the bracket of streetwise femme compatriots Andrea Arnold and Lynne Ramsay.
Fans of the barely classifiable “The Arbor,” a biopic of working-class Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar that inventively fused firsthand testimony with lipsynched performance, may be initially disappointed that Barnard has chosen a more straightforward narrative path for her sophomore effort. However, after a few opening scenes that suggest »
- Guy Lodge
British film-maker Clio Barnard made a sensational debut with The Arbor in 2010, about the troubled dramatist Andrea Dunbar: a brilliant and eerily dreamlike film which won the passionate admiration of David Hare and David Thomson among many others. Actors recreated scenes from Dunbar's life and lip-synched into camera using tape-recorded testimony from Dunbar's friends and family. Now Barnard's intensely anticipated follow-up has arrived at Cannes, showing in the Director's Fortnight strand. It is a variation on a theme by Oscar Wilde, a new secular version of Wilde's children's tale The Selfish Giant, which challenges the audience to rethink how redemption is achieved in a world without Christ and which of its characters the title actually refers to.
This film may not exactly have the sophistication of The Arbor, »
- Peter Bradshaw
2 items from 2013
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