April 20, 2014
The Selfish Giant (Clio Barnard, 2013). Clio Barnard’s first dramatic feature grows naturally out of her experimental documentary The Arbor: the same Yorkshire housing estates on the edge of cities, the same dead-ends of drug abuse, poverty and unemployment. The only “industries” here seem to be salvaging scrap metal and stealing copper. As in the great British social-realist tradition, from Ken Loach to Andrea Arnold (with more than a hint of the Dardennes), Barnard is enormously sympathetic and gets remarkable, heartbreaking performances from her child actors, Conner Chapman as – coincidence? – Arbor and Shaun Thomas as Swifty.