Archive of films The Selfish Giant / The Selfish Giant

United Kingdom
2013, 93 min

Section: Another View
Year: 2013

Thirteen-year-old Arbor has anger management problems that lead to his expulsion from school. Living at home with his mother and older brother, his only friend, whom he always hangs around, is Swifty. The film, inspired by the Oscar Wilde fairytale, is a visually delightful story with highly convincing performances. Not unjudiciously compared to Ken Loach’s early work, the movie screened at this year’s Cannes IFF.


Thirteen-year-old Arbor, who has problems with aggression and adaptation, lives alone with his mother and older stepbrother. He is difficult to control, and the only friend willing to listen to him and to whom he clings with childlike obstinacy is Swifty. After he is expelled from school, Arbor decides to earn money by stealing metal and selling it at a junkyard owned by the rough Kitten. He ends up pulling Swifty into this vicious circle from which there is no escape, and soon both boys are faced with the inevitability of a tragedy with a vague ending that leaves many questions unanswered. The film was loosely inspired by Oscar Wilde’s fairy tale of the same name. The film captivates audiences through its extreme realism, authentic performances, and visually refined cinematography. The feature debut by renowned director Clio Barnard does not deny her documentary past and has been justly compared to the early films of Ken Loach. The film was successfully screened in the Directors’ Fortnight section at this year’s festival in Cannes.

About the director

Clio Barnard is the author of artistic installations and short films that have been shown in cinemas, at film festivals and at numerous galleries including the Tate Modern, Tate Britain and New York’s MoMA. Her films have also been shown on Channel 4. Barnard is a recipient of the Paul Hamlyn Award for Artists. Selected filmography: Hermaphrodite Bikini (1995), Headcase (1997), Hardcut (1998), Lambeth Marsh (2000), Flood (2004), Blood Race (2005), Colour Bar (2005), Dark Glass (2006). Her feature-length documentary debut The Arbor, which received an award at Tribeca, was one of four projects to be recognized at the prestigious Artangel Open. The Arbor was also shown in documentary competition at the 2010 festival in Karlovy Vary.


Protagonist Pictures
48-48 Great Portland Stcy, W1W 7NB, London
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 207 734 9000
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Color, DCP

Section: Another View
Director: Clio Barnard
Screenplay: Clio Barnard
Dir. of Photography: Mike Eley
Music: Harry Escott
Editor: Nick Fenton
Producer: Tracy O’Riordan
Production: Moonspun Films
Cast: Conner Chapman, Shaun Thomas, Sean Gilder
Contact: Protagonist Pictures


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Sales Agent

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