The Selfish Giant

(GB, 2013, 91 mins, DCP)
CAST Conner Chapman, Shaun Thomas, Sean Gilder


Inspired by the short story by Oscar Wilde, updated to contemporary Britain, the second feature from Clio Bernard (The Arbor) has been described as a kind of "supercharged Ken Loach film".

A fable about childhood, innocence (a relative term, admittedly) and poverty, it immediately brings to mind Loach’s masterpiece Kes. Arbor and Swifty are best mates, natural scavengers who roam the streets (after being excluded from school) nicking metal to sell for scrap to the local dealer, a cruel, callous piece of work misleadingly nicknamed Kitten.

With staggeringly authentic performances from teenage newcomers Conner Chapman and Shaun Thomas, this is electrifyingly vivid, vital moviemaking, a reminder of how fragile, and how precious, youth really is.

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

"Boldly, broodingly cinematic… jaggedly moving." Guy Lodge, Variety

"A film of such power and beauty that there will be no escaping it." David Thomson, New Republic