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Beasts of the Southern Wild

From IMDB.com UserReviews

“When it all goes quiet behind my eyes, I see everything that made me flying around in invisible pieces.”

28 July 2012 | by Grey Gardens (United States)

“What can I say about Beasts of the Southern Wild, that hasn’t already been said. It’s the most magical and imaginative film of the year, so far. In Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild, the wild things are in a place known as the Bathtub, a remote stretch of the Louisiana bayou profoundly cut off from the rest of modern civilization. Beasts of Southern Wild is an unique vision that sweeps viewers away with energy, attitude and a full, vibrant, sense of life. Containing outstanding performances, great cinematography, and a fantastic score, the film is just so engrossing.

Hushpuppy feels her connection not only to nature and animals, but also to the prehistoric era, represented throughout the film by her interest in cave drawings and—more fancifully—prehistoric beasts called aurochs that have been released from the ice caps and make their way toward the Bathtub…at least in Hushpuppy’s mind. The difference between what’s real and what lives in the imagination of our six-year-old heroine is not always clear, but it’s all delivered with a beautifully assured sense of wonder.

Beasts of the Southern Wild unfolds through Hushpuppy’s eyes, and it’s a sight to behold: sometimes wondrous, often disordered and dysfunctional. It’s hard not to see the film through a political lens even if you’re apolitical. But there’s no stridency here: Fantastical moments and a fantastic script manage to juggle so much with grace. As Hushpuppy says, “The entire world depends on everything fitting together just right.” But her world is one where wealth and squalor co-exist all too easily, the discrepancy painfully obvious (even though we don’t really see the other world), the puzzle pieces not equal in weight or importance. Yet the hardscrabble people of Bathtub still find a way to channel their joy, even though they’ve been forgotten.

It’s all the more impressive that such a confident and resourceful film comes from a first-timer; writer-director Benh Zeitlin previously impressed Sundance audiences with the Hurricane Katrina inspired short “Glory at Sea.” He collaborated on the screenplay for “Beasts” with Lucy Alibar and worked with a cast and crew of mostly non-professionals (both Wallis and Henry make genuinely astonishing screen debuts). There’s a feeling of genuine enthusiasm and ingenuity in their work here, as if everyone involved was truly discovering the power and potential of filmmaking for the first time.”

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