Connor Chapman (The Mill), Shaun Thomas (film debut), Sean Gilder (Gangs of New York), Siobhan Finneran (Downton Abbey), Lorraine Ashbourne (King Kong), Ian Burfield (V for Vendetta)


Clio Bernard (The Arbor), director, writer; Katherine Butler (Tyrannosaur), executive producer; Lizzie Francke (This is England), executive producer; Tracy O’Riordan (The Arbor), producer; Harry Escott (Welcome to the Punch), composer; Mike Eley (Nanny McPhee Returns), cinematography; Nick Fenton (Submarine), editor


Based on the same titled children’s story by historically notorious playwright Oscar Wilde, The Selfish Giant follows the tale of desperation, greed and fear of two young boys growing up in Yorkshire. Excluded from school, 13-year old Arbor and his best friend Swifty abandon education and join the dangerous business dangerous business of scrap dealing by stealing and selling copper. By shadowing local scrap dealer, Kitty, it isn’t too long until Arbor gets too caught up in the business and shows greedy and exploitative traits that render him the focus of the film’s title.


One of the problems with the British exhibition industry is the limited access to viewing films like The Selfish Giant. It isn’t often that a film of the social realism genre finds its way onto the screens of multiplex cinemas, and this release will challenge this issue. Connor Chapman and Shaun Thomas give phenomenal performances as young actors, leading the film with perfect portrayals of the despair of not feeling any sense of belonging in a neighbourhood in a poor economical state or a drive to carry on along the academic route when there are much easier means of passing time available to them that reap more tangible rewards.

Within today’s film industry, we can safely say we are no longer in demand but pure supply mode of similar, big-budget fictional films, which further highlights the importance of the release of The Selfish Giant and making films that open the world’s eyes instead of seeking for big revenues alone. Director Clio Bernard has approached a real-life subject matter by adapting this Victorian fairy-tale into a contemporary fable based on a young man’s real experience around the Buttershaw estate in Bradford, Northern England. The young man was a 14 year-old called Matty, who had been scavenging metal to sell to scrap dealers from the age 11. Scavenging of this cart usually involves using a horse a cart to travel and carry the metal, so, with the money, Matty built a makeshift stable in the garden of his Mum’s council house to keep his horse. When scrap pieces were high, he could earn up to £200 a day. The adaption’s realistic approaches to contemporary issues make this a truly heart-wrenching tale of desperation and fear. By using a real-life story as the basis for a film and furthermore conveying it in a manner that is most realistic (i.e. not glamourizing it with special effects, big stars and a narrative that is very loosely linked to the truth), Bernard’s message is presented to the audience very powerfully.

Not only is this film exciting for the viewer, but it’s incredibly exciting for the British film industry with a Europe Cinemas award from the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and nomination for 2013 Lux Prize already under its belt. Produced by Moonspun Films Production but backed by the BFI (British Film Institute) Film Fund and Film4 and developed with support from the both, it completely derives from British roots and thus competes in world cinema whilst also showing direct competition with America through sticking to differentiation and not giving into mainstream production.

Although the film may not be defined as modern in this way, however, it is part of a very modern exhibition strategy that has already been adopted by several online film streaming services such as Virgin Media: same day multiple platform release. On 9th October, the BFI launched their new BFI Player on which films will be available for a paid rental service on their site with film’s ranging from great classics to modern masterpieces. When released in cinemas on 25th October, The Selfish Giant will also be available on the BFI Player for £10. Be sure to check it out there and then!




RYLIE TROTT is an exceptional film fanatic, determined to make sure you are aware of the best things coming your way to a cinema near you. On her blog page, entitled The Life of Rylie, she not only submits her own “Ryviews” of movies but also offers interesting analytical insights into music videos, the film industry, past films and her own, exciting life! Currently in her first year at the University of Kent, Rylie is well on her way to becoming a brilliant writer always with enough wit and intelligent to last her a lifetime! Check out her blog here!

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