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The Selfish Giant (2013)

 -  Drama  -  25 October 2013 (UK)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 4,456 users   Metascore: 83/100
Reviews: 28 user | 112 critic | 22 from Metacritic.com

A contemporary fable about two scrappy 13-year-old working-class friends in the UK who seek fortune by getting involved with a local scrap dealer and criminal, leading to tragic consequences.

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, (inspired by 'The Selfish Giant')
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Arbor
Shaun Thomas ...
Swifty
...
Johnny Jones
...
Mick Brazil
Everal Walsh ...
Railway Man (as Everal A. Walsh)
...
Kitten
...
Mary
...
Martin Fenton
Rebecca Manley ...
Michelle 'Shelly' Fenton
John Wall ...
School Nurse
Mohammed Ali ...
Mo
Jamie Michie ...
Teacher
...
'Price Drop' Swift
...
Mrs. Swift
Bailey Clapham ...
Swift Child
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Storyline

An official selection at the Cannes Film Festival, The Selfish Giant is a contemporary fable about 13 year old Arbor (Conner Chapman) and his best friend Swifty (Shaun Thomas). Excluded from school and outsiders in their own neighborhood, the two boys meet Kitten (Sean Gilder), a local scrap dealer. Wandering their town with just a horse and a cart, they begin collecting scrap metal for him. Swifty has a natural gift with horses while Arbor emulates Kitten - keen to impress him and make some money. However, Kitten favors Swifty, leaving Arbor feeling hurt and excluded, driving a wedge between the boys. As Arbor becomes increasingly greedy and exploitative, tensions build, leading to a tragic event that transforms them all. Written by Sundance Selects

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 October 2013 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

El gigante egoista  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$2,589 (USA) (20 December 2013)

Gross:

$10,531 (USA) (3 January 2014)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Clio Barnard based Arbor and Swifty off of two children she met while filming The Arbor (2010) who worked as scrappers. See more »

Connections

Featured in The EE British Academy Film Awards (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Internally graceful, cinematically poetic..."
8 February 2014 | by (Norway) – See all my reviews

English screenwriter and director Clio Barnard's feature film debut which she wrote, is inspired by real events in the life of a real person and a novel from 1888 by Irish 19th and 20th century author, playwright and poet Oscar Wilde. It premiered in the 45th Directors' Fortnight section at the 66th Cannes International Film Festival in 2013, was screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section at the 38th Toronto International Film Festival in 2013, was shot on locations in England and is a UK production which was produced by producer Tracy O'Riordan. It tells the story about a secondary school student named Arbor who lives in a terraced house with his mother named Michelle Fenton and his brother named Martin. One evening when Arbor and his best friend named Swifty who lives with his parents and six siblings are out riding on a horse, they notice two men who are cutting cables on a railway, scares them off and takes the cables.

Distinctly and eminently directed by English filmmaker Clio Barnard, this finely paced and somewhat fictional tale which is narrated mostly from the two main characters' viewpoints, draws an important and ingrained portrayal of two adolescent boys whom in the hopes of making some money to help out their families begins collecting scrap and delivering it to a scrap dealer. While notable for its atmospheric milieu depictions, reverent cinematography by cinematographer Mike Eley, production design by production designer Helen Scott, film editing by film editor Nick Fenton and use of sound, colors and light, this character-driven and narrative-driven story about young boys with limited options, friendship, a mistreated horse named Diesel, wounds of the human heart which are not healed by magic tricks and values of life which is envisaged by a filmmaker with authority whom is dearly remembered for her unforgettable directorial debut "The Arbor" (2010), depicts a dignified study of character and contains a great and timely score by composer Harry Escott.

This quietly perspicacious, naturally humorous and liable drama which is set in Bradford, England in the 21st century and where a rebellious son and brother without a father-figure whom has been neglecting school and stopped taking his medication and his goodhearted friend and classmate who looks out for him begins working at a scrapyard for an unreliable man named Kitten after an incident at school where Arbor stood up for Swifty after a student disrespected his family and they were excluded, is impelled and reinforced by its cogent narrative structure, substantial character development, rhythmic continuity, distinct dialog, fairy-tale-like realism, subtle style of filmmaking, traces of the origins of English cinema, underlying and emphatic rage which is contrasted by a heartfelt humanity and the genuine acting performances by English actors Conner Chapman and Shaun Thomas. An internally graceful, cinematically poetic and strikingly beautiful narrative feature which gained, among other awards, the Bronze Horse for Best Film at the 24th Stockholm Film Festival in 2013.


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