BUFS Preview: The Selfish Giant

This week, BUFS is pleased to present The Selfish Giant.

You may be hard-pressed to recognize Oscar Wilde’s story, “The Selfish Giant,” in this heart-breaking interpretation set in present-day Bradford in the North of England.

The film tells the story of two boys in a destitute community. Each faces his own challenges—Swifty is slow and uncertain, while Arbor has to fend off a brother who keeps stealing his much-needed ADHD medication to sell on the street. But the boys become fast friends when Swifty falls victim to some bullies at school and livewire Arbor intervenes on his behalf. They promptly get thrown out of school for fighting.

Swifty and Arbor decide to use the time on their hands to collect scrap metal and electrical wire for a local junkyard dealer, Kitten. The career criminal takes a shine to the boys, but he is far from the ideal role model. Driven by the chance to make some real money for their families, the boys take bigger and bigger risks to obtain the scrap. Kitten does nothing to dissuade them as they grow more daring and more desperate.

Clio Barnard is generally thought of as one of the most exciting new directors working today. The Selfish Giant is only her second feature-length film, but her fearlessness and vision create an intense cinematic experience. The young actors in her film astound with their raw energy, and the looming cooling towers outside the city of Bradford highlight the challenges of a former industrial town in today’s market economy.

The Selfish Giant screens Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Landmark Theatres, Pen Centre. Visit brocku.ca/bufs for details.

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