The Playlist

Review: Clio Barnard’s Powerful & Authentic Award-Winner ’The Selfish Giant’

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • December 19, 2013 6:02 PM
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  • 0 Comments
We meet Arbor, the troubled young protagonist of Clio Barnard’s second feature “The Selfish Giant" in claustrophobic close-up as he hammers his fists in incoherent rage against the underside of the bed beneath which, we gather, he tends to retreat in times of stress. The violence subsides suddenly though, as he is coaxed out of his hiding place and out of his fit of anger, by big, soft Swifty, his best (only) friend, with whom Arbor shares a certain marginalization -- Arbor is being medicated for an unspecified antisocial disorder; Swifty is bullied and taunted for his traveller background. Marking the shift from verbal and physical violence and harshness, to a sort of grounded lyricism (a shift the film makes successfully time and again), this squally opening scene ends with a calm detail of the boys’ clasped hands, which we will return to later in different and wrenchingly tragic circumstances.

The 10 Best Child Performances Of 2013

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • December 16, 2013 2:48 PM
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  • 19 Comments
The 10 Best "Child" Performances Of 2013
The legendary W.C. Fields once said "never work with animals or children," but that advice thankfully has been broken time and time again, and especially in 2013, when younger thespians were able to truly show their chops (not to mention the cat performances from "Inside Llewyn Davis”). We wanted to highlight their contributions in a stand-alone feature, since so many of our favorite movies this year were enhanced and made real by younger performers.

'Metro Manila' Wins Best Film British Independent Film Awards; Paul Greengrass, James McAvoy & More Honored

Another day and more trophies handed out as 2013 tumbles toward a close. Over the weekend, the British Independent Film Awards provided some dinner and statues to a wide range of movies, and given their mandate, it shines a light on a different batch of movies than the ones that are dominating critics charts stateside. Read More »

'Gravity,' 'Frances Ha' & 'Blue Is The Warmest Color' Land On Sight & Sound's Top 10 Films Of 2013

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • December 2, 2013 9:08 AM
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  • 5 Comments
It's beginning to look a lot like... Awards season. December has arrived and it means trophies are going to start arriving by the truckload. This week alone we'll see the Gotham Awards, New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board Of Review all hand out their prizes, while overseas the celebration of 2013 of film has already begun. Last week, Cahiers Du Cinema dropped their best of the last twelve months, and now another cinephile mag is doing is the same.

‘Nothing Bad Can Happen,' ‘The Selfish Giant,' & 'We Gotta Get Out Of This Place’ Take Top Honors At AFI Fest 2013

Another straight week of Hollywood and international films has wrapped up in Los Angeles, as AFI Fest 2013 drew to a close yesterday and announced its slate of juried and audience prizes. The selection this year had its share of Oscar-season glamour—“Saving Mr. Banks,” “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” and “Inside Llewyn Davis” all received gala screenings—but when it came time for the festival prizes, it was new, small-scale works from directors Clio Barnard and Katrin Gebbe that really impressed. Read More »

'Starred Up' & 'The Selfish Giant' Lead British Independent Film Award Nominees

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • November 11, 2013 9:25 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Starred Up
While it may seem like we're still only in the midst of the various awards season campaigns, nominations have already started to be handed out across the pond. Over the weekend, the European Film Awards dropped their list of the movies being honored this year and it has been quickly followed this morning with the British Independent Film Awards, who are shining a light on another batch of worthy films and talent.

Watch: Trailer For Celebrated Brit Indie 'The Selfish Giant'

  • By Kristen Lopez
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  • November 6, 2013 6:16 PM
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  • 0 Comments
With festival season segueing into Oscar season, the remaining films traveling the festival circuit are slowly making their way into distribution and eventual release. One standout that we caught up with at Karlovy Vary earlier this summer was British director Clio Barnard’s second feature, “The Selfish Giant.” The tale of a troubled young boy (Conor Chapman) and his best friend (Shawn Thomas) got a glowing “B+” review from our own Jessica Kiang who praised its power and lyricism.

BFI London Film Festival Diary Day 6: 'Labor Day,' 'The Selfish Giant,' 'Of Good Report' & More

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 16, 2013 2:02 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Labor Day
It's not the coolest thing to admit in certain circles, but I'm an unrepentant fan of Jason Reitman's work. Though his debut "Thank You For Smoking" was uneven (though a little fun), his three subsequent films have shown him to be a fine director of actors, and to have a real command of tone, and I consider "Juno," "Young Adult," and particularly, "Up In The Air" to be among the best films of their type in recent years (the mainstream-ish comedy-drama—and one only has to look at the many dismal similar films that come round the festival circuit every year to realize how hard it is to pull one of those off). Which is why I was particularly disappointed that "Labor Day" [C-] is such a misfire.

Karlovy Vary Review: Clio Barnard’s ’The Selfish Giant’

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 5, 2013 10:30 AM
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  • 1 Comment
We meet Arbor, the troubled young protagonist of Clio Barnard’s second feature “The Selfish Giant" in claustrophobic close-up as he hammers his fists in incoherent rage against the underside of the bed beneath which, we gather, he tends to retreat in times of stress. The violence subsides suddenly though, as he is coaxed out of his hiding place and out of his fit of anger, by big, soft Swifty, his best (only) friend, with whom Arbor shares a certain marginalization -- Arbor is being medicated for an unspecified antisocial disorder; Swifty is bullied and taunted for his traveller background. Marking the shift from verbal and physical violence and harshness, to a sort of grounded lyricism (a shift the film makes successfully time and again), this squally opening scene ends with a calm detail of the boys’ clasped hands, which we will return to later in different and wrenchingly tragic circumstances. It’s a gripping beginning to this passionately felt and astonishingly acted film, which shares a lot of DNA with the modern British social realist movies of Barnard’s contemporaries Andrea Arnold and Lynne Ramsay.

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