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The Giants (Les Géants) (2011)

The Giants (Les geants)From Actor/Director Bouli Lanners comes this new Coming-of-Age drama centred on three boys — two brothers (Zak, 13 and Seth, 15) and their friend (Danny, 15) — all of whom have been brought up in unfortunate circumstances. Zak and Seth’s mother has abandoned them to fend for themselves. They live in their grandfather’s old house and make do with what they have. Danny has been brought up in a rough family with an abusive brother and parents that do not care.

When Zak and Seth run out of money, the three conjure up a plan to make some cash, renting out their grandfather’s house to a drug dealer to grow his batch of weed in secrecy. But when things don’t quite go according to plan, the three end up stranded and must defend and support each other to survive.

Honestly, The Giants is by far one of the best Coming-of-Age dramas I have ever seen. It is lighthearted with some comedic moments, but the undertones are pretty disturbing, and the overall presence of the boys in this situation is sad. With all this in mind, the film firmly focuses on the theme of making the best out of every situation, no matter what, and letting go of the past to move on and look at life in the present. I think both of these are captured by the film exceptionally well. It is very realistic and flourishes with small moments between the boys — with simple gestures and expressions that place the audience right in the story.

SceneThis was very much achieved through the acting as well. Every single character is well written and very well acted. The performances were all fantastic, particularly those of the three leading kids, who were all very real and believable in their roles. I think they have been very well directed as well, and, in a number of scenes, it appears the method of improvisation was used (done a lot with child actors), which was very effective.

Les géants (2011) Official Trailer

The Giants is absolutely beautifully shot as well. It presents a rich sense of nature and geography and utilizes several wides and holds on them for some time. But they are most definitely worth holding on because the scenery is breathtaking. Some shots have a very Malik-esque feel to them, and, although used in a very different manner, they display a very similar sense and feel of the world around us. The cinematography in this film is awe-inspiring. Jean-Paul de Zaetijd has displayed a very passionate and expressive use of the camera, and he is most definitely one to watch in the future.

Les Geants movie reviewThis film represents the essence of mid-teenage experiences very well. The boys are all subjected to many real-life experiences that make it hard not to feel somewhat nostalgic about certain aspects of your own time in this period. The film is very well made, utilizing a minimal number of locations, but fluently and effectively. The film gives you a rich feeling of time passed and represents each boy’s changes.

I loved this film — loved, loved, loved, loved it. I loved every aspect of it from the beginning, middle till the somewhat anti-climatic but aesthetically beautiful ending. I highly recommend this to all readers. It’s a simple yet stunningly gorgeous film, in both story and visuals.



The Giants (Les Géants) (2011)
Stunningly gorgeous film
The Giants is a simple, yet stunningly gorgeous film, in both story and visuals. The acting, directing, cinematography and storyline all combine to make this a film which is highly recommended to all.
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  1. I thought I have commented on this movie. But I guess the post got lost or I didn’t click submit.

    Anyway I really liked the movie and can say that it made to my favorite list.

  2. Your review got me really interested and now having seen the film myself I will join your praises – and recommend it highly to all readers of the site.

    Starting with the acting – as you noted very believable performance – I agree with you that it is quite likely that an improvisation has been used as the dialogues felt sincere – the overall experience changed from a passive viewer to a well told story to an active one – I almost felt I know the boys in the real life .

    I have to admit I associated a lot with them – for their experiences were not much different than mine and of my friends of their age – including we used the same language and slang and jokes. You know how some movies would present overly idealized vision of a teenage / childhood experiences – others will over dramatize them – Bouli Lanners did neither – life was portrayed as it really is.

    The expressions of Paul Bartel, Martin Nissen and Zacharie Chasseriaud were top notch as well.Especially the ones of Zacharie Chasseriaud whom the camera seemed to pay more attention ( because of his age I guess ).

    One thing you did not mention in your review that made a huge impression on me was the musical score – the guitar tunes and the lyrics of the songs included in the film`s soundtrack really contributed to the mood of the film.

    I agree with your comments about the film`s cinematography – the camera moved smoothly and fluidly – which I associated with the river that was featured in many of the scenes – which on its own felt like a metaphor of life flowing …

    I was watching the film almost ready to give it standing ovations – but worried that it will end in some cliched way that would ruin my experience – I am glad I was wrong at that .

    Les Géants is indeed one of the best coming of age dramas I have ever seen. Thank you for reviewing it – I am sure that when the readers of the site manage to see it on their own their thoughts won`t be much different than mine.

    PS . Some scenes reminded me of the Larry Clark`s 1995 film “Kids “

    • I’m glad you feel the same way. :)

      I agree, Zak was definitely the centralised character, and I think Zacharie Chasseriaud was absolutely brilliant as well. He was very natural.

      Lanners certainly did hold the realism aspect. His scenes are raw and present a sense that you are actually there with the characters (as you mentioned). It is extremly hard to capture those moments. I think this is also a big credit to editor (Ewin Ryckaert) as well. She has done an amazing job and identifying and displaying those small yet so important moments that really give the feel to the film.

      I did forget to mention the music, but I completely agree with you. I thought it was fantastic and really captured the mood of the film. The tracks were used appropriately and provided a rich sense of the feelings and world.

      I like the idea of the river as a metaphor for lifes continuous progression and flow. I didn’t think of that when I was watching it, but I think that is very true.

      Stand By Me is my favorite coming of age film of all time, but this one comes very close. The best CoA film I’ve seen since Stand By Me anyway.

    • I must admit that I have heard over and over how good Stand by Me is as a coming of age film, yet even if I have seen it several times and read several reviews I was never able to see what is so special about that movie. And everytime I read a statement like yours it makes me wonder why I have missed…

    • Wow, that surprises me. But that’s fair enough, that’s why film is so subjective.

      I think the reason for me why it was so special, was becuase it was the film that I watched that really opened my vision to the coming of age genre. I saw this for the first time when I was about 17, and for me it was at a time where I really needed that reminder of a time where things were just simple, that age where the troubles of the world were a thing that was not in your life. Nature, having fun, being with your friends and going on adventures was all that mattered, and I think Stand By Me captured this in a way that made so many people nostalgic about this time in their lives as well. Sure it was set in the 50’s, but I think the elements of Stand By Me are very universal, and it wasn’t a heavy drama that would only relate to a selective group of people, everything was very relatable. Gordy, the kid who’s family has been torn apart by the death of a brother, the wise kid the one that is smart but also very vunerable. Chris, the kid from the wrong side of the tracks, the one with a rough brother in the local gang, in a way the hopeless one, but the strongest of all. Then the comedic character, Vern, the kid from a good family with not all that many problems, but the one that provides the laughs to the group and keeps them sane. Then there’s Teddy, similar to chris, but the one that has an abusive parent, whom he still finds a way to idolise. The kid with a wild imagination and a daredevil attitude.
      I think thsese characters are all 100% universal, whether you have known them or you have been one of them, they are all prevelant in any society and most group of friends have these type of characters. This is why I think Stand By Me is so impactful. The story to recover the body is meerly a backdrop to an amazing character study of four boys, very different, but all of whom need those differences in order to make the group whole.
      The character arcs are so visisble in Stand By Me as well. The change from each character, although very small for some, is absoutely 100% real and captured in a sense that could be directly related to real life changes.

      I could really go on forever about this film, in fact I wrote an analytical essay on Stand By Me a while back. I’d be happy to post if you want.


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The Giants is a simple, yet stunningly gorgeous film, in both story and visuals. The acting, directing, cinematography and storyline all combine to make this a film which is highly recommended to all.

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The Giants is a simple, yet stunningly gorgeous film, in both story and visuals. The acting, directing, cinematography and storyline all combine to make this a film which is highly recommended to all.The Giants (Les Géants) (2011)