As part of its Long Play programme, The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) presents the Melbourne season of The Giants, from 1 to 14 November, 2012.
Winner of the Art Cinema prize at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival-Directors’ Fortnight, The Giants sits thematically with favourites Catcher in the Rye, Stand by Me and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Writer Director Bouli Lanners tells the story of two teenage boys abandoned at their grandfather’s house by their mother for the summer. Becoming a trio with a local boy, the three navigate adult dilemmas through the lens and viewpoint endemic to teenage perspective; they mix bravado, naivety and need together to traverse the summer.
Dany, the local part of the trio, sums up his plans – leaving the Ardennes mountains for Spain “Life’s easy there; it’s easy to get papers. It’s easy to get work. You party, you pick fruit, you have money to see the year out. The girls are beautiful; it’s sunny all the time. You smoke good dope – no one pisses you off. I just need to get some cash.”
Weed, girls and money seem the solution to their predicaments of abandonment, living from the edge of society and the impedance of the lack of age and wisdom. Using whatever they have at their disposal as bargaining chips, this summer will arm them with skills they will need on what comes sooner than it should – adulthood.
Set in picturesque Luxemburg, Lanners peppers the story with the additional character of nature – long winding rivers that the boys sail down, reminiscent of Tom Sawyer; forests and woodlands that speak of adventure waiting to happen. A painter in a previous life, Lanners uses this sensibility to create a world framed by the widescreen lens for which these adventures can happen. The crisp light of Luxemburg casts a hue over the film that both contrasts and complements the story and its characters.
An additional notional character is included through the soundtrack – entirely written and performed by Bram Vanparys, otherwise known as The Bony King of Nowhere. Belgium neo-folk darling, heralding his stage name from the infamous track There There by Radiohead. Vanparys came to the set of The Giants for inspiration and stayed for a week. According to Lanners the soundtrack was recorded in the natural world, with full preparation to re-record in a studio, but it wasn’t necessary. The soundtrack won Best Original Music at the 2011 Magritte awards providing a freshness and lilt to the story through melodic, meandering tunes with a few catching notes.
The Giants screens at ACMI from 1 to 14 November 2012. French with English subtitles. For ticketing and session information please visit www.acmi.net.au/film