The Selfish Giant (2013) : The Unselfish Director


From the opening shot, you know this film is something special, it engulfs you in its fairytale-esque atmosphere and lulls you into a false sense of security before tackling some of the more harrowing issues. Clio Barnard’s The Selfish Giant (2013) is the epitome in what has become a resurgent trend of British realism, with other works such as Kidulthood also taking up the realist mantle from their British New Wave predecessors. Barnard’s film tackles social and political issues focusing upon the contemporary working class youth and their struggles with growing up, especially within a capitalist society. The two leads, Arbor and Swifty, who get embroiled in scrapping metal for an unscrupulous scrap dealer Kitten, portray troubled youths with compelling and realistic performances that are truly remarkable for their age. Whilst all of the adult performers are also magnificent, it is the two youngsters who steal the limelight; their pain and anguish captures the depression that seems to be currently gripping Britain. This film gives an insight into the psychology of the young generation and the hardships and pressure they endure, despite not having the full responsibility of adults. This film is stunning, and will be a landmark of British cinema for years to come, with near perfect performances and an ending that will cause even the hardest of hearts to shed a tear.

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