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The Giants

The Giants

Released 13 July 2012
Director Bouli Lanners

Zacharie Chasseriaud, Martin Nissen, Paul Bartel, Karim Leklou, Didier Toupy, Gwen Berrou, Marthe Keller
Writer(s) Bouli Lanners, Elise Ancion

Jacques-Henri Bronckart, Jani Thiltges
Origin Belgium
Running Time 84 minutes
Genre Drama

Big bad world.

It is summertime in an unremarkable stretch of French countryside. Teenage brothers Zak and Seth have been abandoned by their absentee mother. She is never seen on screen and it isn’t clear if she is ever coming back for her sons at all. They have little money, a big empty house, their dead grandfather’s car (but no fuel to run it) and nothing to do.

After a chance meeting with local boy Dany (who has his own problems dealing with an abusive older brother) the three boys struggle to navigate the adult world on their own. However as the narrative progresses the boys retreat further and further from a society that is nothing but hostile towards them. The Giants charts the boys’ descent out of society and into a kind of primitive savagery. It’s a bit of a Peter Pan story, albeit one with joyriding, housebreaking, alcohol and drugs.

Belgian filmmaker Boulli Landers has created a beautifully evocative and tragic film in The Giants. Violence constantly lingers at the edges of the film, always threatening to erupt and consume its fragile band of heroes. This is complemented with images of staggering natural beauty in the long, lingering shots of forests, corn fields, and rivers. The result is a fresh interpretation of the traditional coming of age story, as well as a biting criticism of the society which has failed to protect these boys.

The performances from the three young actors are absolutely captivating and believable. Each of them manages to capture the forced tough-guy act, with a raw emotional fragility evident just below the surface. The Giants is a tough watch at times, but it is also a powerful cinematic journey that will leave its audience with a lot to think about.

- Bernard O’Rourke