Arts + Culture » Film + TV

The Selfish Giant

Directed by Clio Barnard (IFC)



Morals are hard-won in this haunting coming-of-age story from director Clio Barnard. The Selfish Giant is inspired by an Oscar Wilde fairytale of the same name. But Wilde’s tale is a happy fable of friendship, whereas Barnard’s film is a grey example of social realism that pokes about in the dim corners where friendship sometimes takes us. The Selfish Giant is a tale of two adolescent boys who live on the margins. Arbor (Connor Chapman) is a small, wiry schemer while Swifty (Shaun Thomas) is larger, plodding and more sensitive. The boys bond through shared delinquency and the pursuit of enough fistfuls of cash to keep their respective families out of debt and safe from trouble. The pair partner with a local scrap metal merchant and spend much of their time securing illegally-acquired copper---the holy grail of scrap metal. The Selfish Giant is a portrait of poverty, desperation and determination. The grim and unapologetic narrative makes Barnard’s second feature film affecting and memorable.


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