The Selfish Giant

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United Kingdom | 2013 | 91 Minutes | Clio Barnard

March 24, 2014

A nominee for Best British Film at this year's BAFTA Awards, director Clio Barnard (The Arbor) presents a contemporary fable about a pair of working-class boys whose lives are changed when they begin working for a local scrap dealer.

13-year-old Arbor and his best friend Swifty are outsiders with an entrepreneurial spirit. When they meet Kitten, a local scrap dealer, they begin working for him by wandering their town with a horse and a cart, collecting scrap metal. Swifty has a natural gift with horses, while Arbor becomes increasingly greedy and exploitative. Tensions build, leading to a tragic event that transforms them all. A modern update of a classic Oscar Wilde story, The Selfish Giant premiered to universal acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival, and further cements Barnard's reputation as a visionary filmmaker.

"Drawing its title and some enigmatic inspiration from the fairy tale by Oscar Wilde, The Selfish Giant is a heartbreaking fable of its own making, blending the elegant childhood-memory containment of Stand by Me with the minute-by-minute grittiness of Trainspotting. Go see it."- David Schmader, The Stranger

"It's so assured and accomplished, so rigorous on both a human and technical level, and so clearly driven by love for this harsh landscape and its hardened people, that I was entirely swept away by its characters and their story." - Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com

"Devastating in its simplicity and honesty, The Selfish Giant is a colossus of feeling." - Inkoo Kang, The Village Voice

  • Director: Clio Barnard
  • Principal Cast: Conner Chapman, Shaun Thomas, Sean Gilder
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 91 Minutes
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Format: DCP
  • US Distributor: IFC Films