Giant (2017 film)

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Handia poster.jpg
Spanish release poster
Directed byAitor Arregi
Jon Garaño
Produced byXabier Berzosa
Iñaki Gómez
Iñigo Obeso
Written byAndoni De Carlos
José Mari Goenaga
Aitor Arregi
Jon Garaño
StarringJoseba Usabiaga
Eneko Sagardoy
Iñigo Aranburu
Ramón Agirre
Aia Kruse
Music byPascal Gaigne
CinematographyJavier Agirre Erauso
Edited byLaurent Dufreche
Raúl López
Kowalski Films
Moriarti Produkzioak
Release date
  • 23 September 2017 (2017-09-23) (San Sebastián)
  • 20 October 2017 (2017-10-20) (Spain)
Running time
114 minutes
(some dialogue in Spanish, French, English, Arabic and Portuguese)
Box office$912,912[1][2]

Giant (Basque: Handia) is a 2017 Basque language drama film directed by Aitor Arregi and Jon Garaño.[3] The film is based on the life of Miguel Joaquín Eleizegui Arteaga (1818–1861) who suffered from gigantism and was known as the "Giant from Altzo". The film premiered at the 2017 San Sebastián International Film Festival, where it was awarded the Special Jury Prize.[4] The film was also screened at the 2017 BFI London Film Festival.[5]

At the 32nd Goya Awards, the film won ten awards, including Best Original Screenplay, Best New Actor (Eneko Sagardoy), and Best Original Score (Pascal Gaigne).[6]


  • Joseba Usabiaga as Martin
  • Eneko Sagardoy as Joaquin
  • Iñigo Aranburu as Arzadun
  • Ramon Agirre as Antonio
  • Aia Kruse as María


Martin Eleizegi is an unwilling conscript in the First Carlist War. While fighting, he is injured and loses the use of his right arm. He returns to his family's small farm in the village of Altzo in the Basque Country, where he discovers his younger brother, Joaquin, has grown into a giant. Martin, longing to emigrate to America, sees the commercial opportunity in marketing the "tallest man on Earth." The brothers travel around Europe, despite Joaquin's increasing discomfort of being a freak attraction. Joaquin measures himself each night and is horrified that he continues to grow well into his twenties, and suffers from increasing aches and pains. He suspects that the condition is terminal.

Martin attempts to appear more sophisticated by learning Spanish and wearing modern fashions. He briefly believes he blends in, yet his background and Basque accent betray him. Embittered, he and Joaquin travel abroad through Spain, France and England. The brothers eventually visit Stonehenge where, in a surreal, early morning ritual, Joaquin is introduced to two other giants: Saad and Esther.[7]

In Paris, Joaquin's pain intensifies. He is taken to a doctor, who formally diagnoses Joaquin with gigantism. The doctor asks if Joaquin would sell his bones to science after he passes away. Joaquin replies that he wants to be buried in Altzo.

Joaquin and Esther meet up for a romantic encounter. She shows interest, but he is too self-conscious and possibly impotent, due his condition. Their night ends with Esther upset and confused as Joaquin angrily sends her away.

When the brothers briefly return home, Martin marries Maria, whom Joaquin courted before he grew to an unusual height. Martin and Joaquin continue to tour, with the intention of using Joaquin's wages to secure ownership of the family farm. Joaquin, suspicious of being exploited, secretly hoards them. When their carriage is robbed by highwaymen, all of Joaquin's money is stolen. To prevent losing the farm, Martin gives up his own earnings, which he had planned to use to move to America.

In an attempt to recoup their losses, the brothers continue to tour. However, Joaquin's physical health deteriorates and their audiences dwindle. One day, Joaquin is chased into the woods by a wolf and nearly freezes to death. When the brothers reunite, Martin recognizes Joaquin's undying loyalty and they return home for good.

Joaquin dies from his medical condition and is buried in Altzo. He leaves a surprising amount of money to Martin, though the source of it is unclear. Years later, after Martin's father dies, he digs up Joaquin's grave to make room in the family cemetery. He discovers the grave is empty and realizes the money likely came from the selling of Joaquin's bones. Martin reflects on how all physical traces of Joaquin are slowly disappearing, but he won't forget his brother.

Critical reception[edit]

The film won several Goya awards in Spain and has been described as the most technically accomplished to date Basque-language movie. English language critics have been equally enthusiastic, praising especially its visual brilliance while noting that the plot loses momentum towards the end.[7]

As of June 2020, Giant holds a 70% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on ten reviews with an average rating of 6.5 out of 10.[8]


Awards Date of ceremony Category Nominees Result Ref.
65th San Sebastián International Film Festival September 30, 2017 Golden Shell for Best Film Nominated [4]
Special Jury Prize Won
V Premios Feroz January 22, 2018 Best Drama Film Nominated [9][10]
Best Director Aitor Arregi
Jon Garaño
Best Original Soundtrack Pascal Gaigne Won
Best Film Poster Iñaki Villuendas Won
32nd Goya Awards February 3, 2018 Best Film Nominated
Best Director Aitor Arregi
Jon Garaño
Best New Actor Eneko Sagardoy Won [11][12]
Best Original Screenplay Jon Garaño
José María Goenaga
Aitor Arregi
Best Production Supervision Ander Sistiaga Won [13][14]
Best Editing Laurent Dufreche
Raúl López
Best Original Score Pascal Gaigne Won
Best Cinematography Javier Aguirre Erauso Won
Best Art Direction Mikel Serrano Won
Best Costume Design Saioa Lara Won
Best Makeup and Hairstyles Ainhoa Eskisabel
Olga Cruz
Gorka Aguirre
Best Sound Iñaki Díez
Xanti Salvador
Best Special Effects Jon Serrano
David Heras


  1. ^ "Handia (Giant)". The Numbers. Retrieved 15 August 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Handia (Giant)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 15 August 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Belinchón, Gregorio (25 September 2017). "El ying y el yang del gigante vasco". El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 13 December 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ a b "Official Awards - FIAPF". San Sebastián International Film Festival. Retrieved 14 December 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Giant". BFI London Film Festival. Retrieved 14 December 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Blanes, Pepa (February 3, 2018). "Premios Goya 2018 'La librería', de Isabel Coixet, triunfa en los Goya de las mujeres". RTVE (in Spanish). Retrieved February 3, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ a b Holland, Jonathan. "'Giant' ('Handia'): Film Review"., 2018. Retrieved 13 May 2018
  8. ^ "Handia (2017)". Retrieved 7 June 2020 – via CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ "Lista completa de los nominados a los Premios Feroz 2018". ECartelera (in Spanish). 6 December 2017. Retrieved 5 December 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ "La lista completa de ganadores de los premios Feroz 2018". El Huffington Post (in Spanish). 23 January 2018. Retrieved 23 January 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "Eneko Sagardoy, mejor actor revelación por 'Handia'". Radiotelevisión Española (in Spanish). February 3, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  12. ^ EFE (February 4, 2018). "Eneko Sagardoy, Goya al mejor actor revelación por "Handia"". EL Diario (in Spanish). Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  13. ^ "Ander Sistiaga, Mejor Dirección de Producción por 'Handía". Radiotelevisión Española (in Spanish). February 3, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  14. ^ "Ander Sistiaga, Mejor Dirección de Producción por 'Handia'". Europa Press (in Spanish). Madrid. February 3, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2018.

External links[edit]