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An official selection at the Cannes Film Festival, The Selfish Giant is a contemporary fable about 13 year old Arbor (Conner Chapman) and his best friend Swifty (Shaun Thomas). Excluded from school and outsiders in their own neighborhood, the two boys meet Kitten (Sean Gilder), a local scrap dealer. Wandering their town with just a horse and a cart, they begin collecting scrap metal for him. Swifty has a natural gift with horses while Arbor emulates Kitten - keen to impress him and make some money. However, Kitten favors Swifty, leaving Arbor feeling hurt and excluded, driving a wedge between the boys. As Arbor becomes increasingly greedy and exploitative, tensions build, leading to a tragic event that transforms them all.Written by
This is a formal interview under caution. Do you understand that, Fenton? Hey, do you understand?
A witness saw two youths burning railway or communications cable.
Michelle 'Shelly' Fenton:
That's nowt to do with him.
Cable theft is a very serious crime, Mrs. Fenton. Trespass on the railway is £1,000 fine.
I ain't been on railway.
Vandalism, endangering lives, maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Michelle 'Shelly' Fenton:
He's just a kid. He ain't nicked no cable. You're looking at wrong place.
He is, as you say, Mrs. Fenton, a minor. ...
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I have to confess I have a 'soft spot' for realist British drama and any film featuring scrapyards and neglected locations nearly always gets a high rating for me.
Having seen Clio Barnard's previous film 'The Arbor' a couple of years back, I was curious to see her next feature and it's well worth the price of admission. Her style and subject matter here remind me of Andrea Arnold's 'Fish Tank' and also a little of Rufus Norris's dysfunctional family in 'Broken', both of which were high on my score sheet.
The two young leads are outstanding, even if their strong northern accents are sometimes hard to follow for me, a southerner, and the portrayal of exclusion, its consequences and repercussions is handled brilliantly by the film makers as you are immersed in their world for what feels far longer than the 90 minutes running time.
See it and appreciate that British drama is alive and kicking. I look forward to her next project.
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