Moving on the Wires: Beasts of the Southern Wild


The southern United States is known for many natural and man-made disasters. From the Mississippi Flood of 1927, which inspired the song “When the Levee Breaks,” to Hurricane Katrina to the BP oil spill, the South has experienced several apocalyptic events. Not only that, our entire world is dealing with rapidly changing climates, melting icecaps and increasing flooding, that will greatly impact our future. What havoc are we releasing on the world through our actions?

Thus, it is fitting that filmmaker Benh Zeitlin decided to do Beasts of the Southern Wild, a magic realist film about a Delta community in a place called “the bathtub,” who are confronting these changes in nature. Even better is the lead, the insightful little girl, Hushpuppy, played by Quvenzhané Wallis. Fox Searchlight is planning to release the film at the end of this month. Wallis is also in Frances Bodomo‘s film Boneshaker and is currently on the front page of Scene: Louisiana’s Entertainment Magazine (click on her name).

Here is the description from Sundance:

Hushpuppy, an intrepid six-year-old girl, lives with her father, Wink, in “the Bathtub,” a southern Delta community at the edge of the world. Wink’s tough love prepares her for the unraveling of the universe; for a time when he’s no longer there to protect her. When Wink contracts a mysterious illness, nature flies out of whack—temperatures rise, and the ice caps melt, unleashing an army of prehistoric creatures called aurochs. With the waters rising, the aurochs coming, and Wink’s health fading, Hushpuppy goes in search of her lost mother.

Hushpuppy is not just the film’s heroine; she’s its soul. Beasts of the Southern Wild exists entirely in its own universe: mythological, anthropological, folkloric, and apocalyptic. Benh Zeitlin’s first feature (a Sundance Institute Feature Film Program project) employs a cast of nonactors—reflecting its grassroots production—to fiercely portray the bond between father and daughter in a world where only the strong survive. Standing defiantly at the end of the world, Hushpuppy affirms the dignity of telling their own story: that they were once there.

Benh Zeitlin discusses the film:

Also, sign up for more information on the film’s website, and you will receive this nice little message:

Dear New Beast,

Here’s to you, cause you just became a beast, and beasts survive.

Trees are shaking, water’s rising, and everything’s turning
upside down. The universe is coming unleashed, and you’re going
to be at the front lines of all of it.

As the Bathtub spills over to the masses, we’ll need you hungry
warriors, mighty titans, and creatures of all sorts to get this
whole thing going.

Strap in, cause there’s a hell of a storm coming.

~ The Beasts

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