Beasts of the Southern Wild
Director: Benh Zeitlin
Writer: Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin
Based on: Lucy Alibar’s play “Juicy and Delicious”
Cast: Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry, Levy Easterly, Lowell Landes, Pamela Harper, Gina Montana
Part of: Viennale
Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) lives with her alcoholic dad Wink (Dwight Henry) in the Bathtub – a bayou community just below the dam the Northern half of the world built to save itself from the melting icecaps and the floods that go with it. But the water isn’t the only threat for the Bathtub and its inhabitants. As the icecaps melt, the ancient aurochs frozen there are being set free as well. And Hushpuppy has to learn to deal with all of it.
Beasts of the Southern Wild has gotten a lot of press and a lot of praise already, so my expectations were pretty high. And I’m very glad to say that it absolutely holds up to the hype.
Alibar and Zeitlin have created an extremely interesting world with a wonderful aesthetic. They discover beauty in ramshackleness and the whole design was pretty damn great. I especially loved the boats. But the entire production design is a testament to the fact that few materials in a very thoughtful and detailed display can create the atmosphere of an entire world.
And the beasts were wonderfully done as well. I’m not sure why they chose to go with pigs instead of cattle to model the aurochs on, but biological accuracy be damned when they look so good.
Visually, my only point of contention was that the camera was a bit too shaky, especially in the beginning. Though it remains so faithfully in Hushpuppy’s perspective through the entirety of the film that that was easily forgiven. Especially since Quvenzhané Wallis gives such a strong and convincing performance.
And the story it tells is just beautiful, touching and plain wonderful. More stories like it should be told: inspiring stories with heart.
Summarising: Totally recommended.