Director/Writer: Clio Barnard
Cast: Shaun Thomas, Sean Gilder, Steve Evets. Lorraine Ashbourne, Conner Chapman
93min Drama UK
The gently rolling countryside of Yorkshire is the setting for Clio Barnard’s contemporary coming of age fable of under-privilege seen through the eyes of two young lads, Arbor and Swifty. Played with extraordinary sensitivity by newcomers Connor Chapman and Shaun Thomas, these boys have similar family problems and difficulties at school that help them forge a close and compatible friendship. Arbor is the less likeable of the two, with a soft spot for his mum, rather like the Kray Twins. When they meet scrap metal dealer, Kitten, Arbor discovers his knack for dealing and with Swifty’s riding skills the pair start scavenging with the help of Kitten’s shire pony, Diesel.
Barnard’s linear narrative echoes the social realism of many current British Films but here Barnard tempers the harshness of Hudderfield’s scrapyards with enchanting images of starry skies and nature. Swifty has a way with animals and develops a strong attachment to Diesel, handling him with skill and compassion and gaining credibility with Kitten who favours him in contrast to the cocky Arbor. Clio Barnard handles the direction with great skill, evoking an unsettling underlying tension in these social dynamics that make it clear that this is a journey that will end in tears. MT
THE SELFISH GIANT SCREENS AT THE 57TH BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL ON 14 OCTOBER AND 16 OCTOBER AT THE OWE2 AND CURZON MAYFAIR COURTESY OF ARTIFICIAL EYE AND now OUT ON DVD/BLU-RAY from 27 JANUARY 2014