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
This is a formal interview under caution. Do you understand that, Fenton? Hey, do you understand?
A witness saw two youths burning railway or communications cable.
Michelle 'Shelly' Fenton:
That's nowt to do with him.
Cable theft is a very serious crime, Mrs. Fenton. Trespass on the railway is £1,000 fine.
I ain't been on railway.
Vandalism, endangering lives, maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Michelle 'Shelly' Fenton:
He's just a kid. He ain't nicked no cable. You're looking at wrong place.
He is, as you say, Mrs. Fenton, a minor. ...
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The two leads, as unknowns, are superb, as are all the child actors in this.
Of the adults it is clearly led by the performance of the three lead female actors (four: I should include the school receptionist). But this film has such an almost documentary feel about it you can forgive any of the acting that may feel a little strained or unnatural (perhaps because of a lacking in the script?).
There are some wonderfully emotionally funny scenes equally matched by ones of sadness. People often use words such as grim, depressing or bleak. But this is Britain as it is; which is about looking for the humour and humanity beyond the circumstance of living. If you haven't been in Britain, then you might be forgiven, if you live here then maybe you have been sheltered: This is really how life can be; but it is far more a story about a boy's journey to manhood.
As a statement on modern society then it speaks volumes to say that nothing is different now as from when it's 60's counterpart Kes was made, or for that matter in anytime in our history.
But for me it won on all levels for it's such strong sense of humanity, on Arbor's journey of discovery, which was lacking, somewhat, in Kes.
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