Clio Barnard won the Best British Newcomer award at the 2010 London Film Festival with her remarkable debut feature The Arbor, an experimental drama-documentary portrait of ill-fated Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar. More conventional in form but just as impressive in its own way, The Selfish Giant
takes its inspiration from the Oscar Wilde story with which it shares a title, but its depiction of the scuffling lives of youngsters who find themselves shunted to society’s margins shows a more obvious debt to the social realism of Ken Loach (Kes, above all). And Barnard matches Loach with the deep compassion with which she tells the fable-like tale of her young heroes Arbor and Swifty – brilliantly played by first-time actors Conner Chapman and Shaun Thomas.
The Selfish Giant shows at the Odeon West End at 9pm tonight; and at the Curzon Mayfair at 8.45pm on Wednesday 16th October; and goes on general release from Friday 25th October.