Les géants (2011) Poster

(2011)

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7/10
an enjoyable but dark and moody coming of age tale reminiscent of Huckleberry Finn and Stand By Me
gregking43 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The Giants is an enjoyable but dark and moody coming of age tale from Belgian actor turned director Bouli Lanners (Nothing To Declare, etc). Cowritten by Lanners and Elise Ancion, the film is reminiscent of Mark Twain's The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn and the classic Stand By Me, and it captures that awkwardness of burgeoning adolescence. Teenage brothers - 16 year old Seth (Martin Nissen) and 13 year old Zak (Zacharie Chasseriaud) are left by their absent mother to fend for themselves over the summer. Zac continually hopes that their mother will return, which adds a poignant note to their journey throughout the film. They spend time in their late grandfather's house near the lake, and their misadventures run the gamut from the comic to the more frightening. When they begin to run out of money they try to find ways to earn some extra cash. But when they hook up with Dany (Paul Bartel) they find themselves caught up in some adventures that are both scary and comical. They rent out their grandfather's house to the untrustworthy, cocaine snorting, marijuana growing Boeuf (Didier Toupy) and his minion Angel (who just happens to be Dany's older brother). The adults here add a sense of menace to proceedings although they are largely underused and clichéd characters. The three boys also find a sympathetic woman (played by Marthe Keller) who temporarily provides them with shelter and a safe haven. And there are some evocative shots of the tranquil Belgian landscape from cinematographer Jean-Paul de Zaetijd (returning to work with Lanners after 2008's festival-hit, Eldorado) that enrich the film. This is the third feature film from Lanners, following El Dorado and Ultranova, and he maintains a leisurely pace throughout as he evokes the freedoms and simple pleasures of childhood. But the film also has a darker edge as it explores some hard-hitting modern realities, such as poverty, drugs, abandonment and homelessness. The performances from the three boys are wonderfully natural and unforced and they develop a wonderful chemistry. Of the three young stars though it is Chasseriaud who stands out as Zac. He provides a natural, winning performance and is utterly compelling to watch. Karim Leklou in particular brings energy and menace to his role as the psychotically violent Angel, Dany's unhinged older brother.The melancholy score from Belgian folk musician The Bony King Of Nowhere is also evocative and adds to the mood of the film.
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7/10
Tale of growing up
pattikawa23 February 2012
During watching this film, I was a bit skeptical. It's true that some scenery shots are truly beautiful and some scenes are (supposed to be) funny. I find the humor is somewhat predictable, or it is just not my kind of humor. But I give this film a credit because one single message that comes over me. It came at the end of the movie.

The story tells a friendship among three teenagers, two of them are brothers. They are raised at an unlucky environment: lack attention of parents, an older brother who beats and sells and uses drugs. With their still naive view of the world, they try to have fun and survive.

The two brothers are left alone in their dead grandpa's house in a village. The parents seem not to care. They are having fun with a joyride in their grandpa's car, smoking joints and stealing food from the neighbor's cellar. So far so good, until they run out of money. They are told that they can earn money by renting the house for weed planting. From here things are gone wrong and they are forced to move out of the house with very little money. This is a recipe for a story: adventure, humorous and heartbreaking scenes.

The film did not succeed to intrigue me. It was somewhat predictable and it does not offer something new, in my opinion. Bit if you seek for an evening of good entertainment, this film would not disappoint you. It is 'light', but with a somewhat serious message. These young people finally choose adventure above security, a daring and exciting choice. Adventure into the wild, at the same time beautiful landscape. It's a symbol of growing up.
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7/10
The trials and tribulations of adolescence
insomnia13 May 2012
Bouli Lanners, a name unknown to me, directed this rather intriguing film. The story tells of a friendship among three teenagers, two of who are brothers. The other teenage has an older brother who sells and uses drugs and regularly beats up his younger brother for hanging around with the other kids. All three kids live in the house belonging to the two brother's deceased grandfather. They are bored out of their minds, whiling away the hours, smoking joints, going for joyrides in the grand father's car and when they're hungry, stealing food from the neighbour's cellar. Eventually, what little money they have, finally runs out. Later, when the older boy introduces them to a man who offers them money if they'll let him rent the house in order to grow marijuana, they reluctantly accept. In a way, "Les Geants" explores the same territory as "Lord of The Flies" – William Goldman's classic tale of children left to fend for themselves. While the children in "Lord of The Flies" eventually turn feral, the children in "Les Geants" manage to cling onto some form of normality, by rejecting their upbringing and finally, choosing adventure above familial security. Bouli Lanners gets terrific performances out of the cast, especially out of the three main characters. The film is beautifully shot – long close-ups of grasses waving in the breeze, the sun glinting off winding rivers and glorious sunsets. The pace is unhurried and no shot is wasted. This is not a great film by any means, but it's a lot better than the dross that passes for film making these days.
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8/10
Mark Twain May Be Rolling in His Grave
soncoman8 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I have been pleasantly surprised by a number of outstanding performances by young actors and actresses on screen this year. Probably my favorite film with juvenile leads is "The Giants" ("Les Geants,") an international co-production of Belgium, France, and Luxembourg. It tells the tales of two brothers (ages 13 and 15) who are basically abandoned by their mother for a summer. Running out of money (and options,) they meet another youngster who gets them involved with a local drug dealer. The boys quickly find themselves over their heads. Don't let the darkness of this premise steer you away from this film. As dark as it may sound, and as unbelievable as the premise may be, I bought into this film entirely and found myself smiling an awful lot. These scrappy kids will do what they must to survive - but - they ARE kids and act accordingly. Their naivety and false bravado ring true. Kudos to the young cast for being uniformly excellent in their roles. You find yourself caring about these kids, recognizing their actions as NOT uncommon in today's youth, laughing at the choices they make (while remembering your own bad choices from years gone by...) and hoping that things work out for them. The film ends with the boys on a rowboat floating down a river and away from their current troubles. I liked the characters in this film so much my thoughts immediately jumped to "SEQUEL!" I'd follow these characters on to their next adventure. It's almost a "Huckleberry Finn" for the new millennium. www.worstshowontheweb.com ( Note - This review, originally posted on May 2, 2012, was deleted by IMDb based on an abuse report filed by another user. Would someone care to identify the "abuse" for me? )
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6/10
Tom Sawyer in a modern bleaker context
georgioskarpouzas26 March 2012
This is the story of two young brothers and a friend of them trying to survive in an indifferent or even hostile environment in modern day France. Some of the people they encounter are evil- as a drug-dealer that tries to swindle them or a rather abusive young man acting as the drug-dealers stooge other are kind- as a lady that finds them on the road and offers them food and shelter.

The boys themselves are no saints since they still, enter the houses of other people and speak a very foul language. But it is an interesting story of survival and resilience as well as friendship in a bleak modern social and natural environment.
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6/10
Sometimes Listless but Authentic and Photogenic
pc9528 February 2014
I see there's quite a few comparisons here with "Stand By Me", and the 2 movies are comparable, but only to the extent that the main characters are young teenage boys. From there, the movies diverge quite a bit. This French movie is darker and enveloped by contemporary issues - especially neglect and drugs. "Les Geants" is beautifully photographed - its settings are pristine and its young stars are full of life and vitality. As is the case with many movies, pacing sometimes slows, and we're caught occasionally waiting for something to move the plot along. The ending is open-ended, and though not as good as Stand-by-Me, it is a worthy effort. 6.5/10
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10/10
Hitch a ride on this one!
p.newhouse@talk21.com3 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
The sleeve of my copy quotes Screen Daily as saying this film is "a joyous heartwarmer". I don't agree. Nor do I think it was intended to be. To me this film is a gentle affirmation of the quality and beauty of brotherhood in the face of adversity.

Yes, these three youths do some stupid things, and you might find yourself wondering why they are doing these things, what they're rebelling against, but it becomes clear in good time.

Zak (Zachary Chasseriaud) and Seth (Martin Nissen) are brothers, aged thirteen and fifteen respectively. They've been left at their dead grandfather's house, under their own cognizance, for the summer, and as the boredom and ennui gets to them, they get into adventures and misadventures, joined by fifteen year old Dany (Paul Bartel), a friend they make on the way.

Martin Nissen is perfect as the hopelessly out of his depth elder brother, and Zachary Chasseriaud is natural as the try anything boundary pushing thirteen year old. Paul Bartel portrays very well the abused but resourceful teen. This film is the story of the three boys' journey through adolescence, and of the guiding lights and grotesques they meet along the way.

Zachary Chasseriaud is the image of Ricky Schroder at the same age, and just as talented. All three boys have a bright future if they stay in the business. I look forward to watching more of their films, and hope also to see more by the director, Bouli Lanners.
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