Beasts of the Southern Wild


deeply eccentric tale of life, love and loss in the New Orleans floods Discuss this article

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True originals are hard to come by in cinema, but this heart-on-sleeve, deeply eccentric tale of life, love and loss in the flood waters of New Orleans merits the label. The Academy Award panel agree: it was this year’s edgy Oscar contender, with four nominations, including Best Picture.

First-time feature filmmaker Benh Zeitlin adapted a one-act play by fellow American Lucy Alibar into a dreamy but frayed-at-the-edges, child’s-eye view of life on the margins of America. The child is six-year-old Hushpuppy (Wallis), a tomboyish girl who lives with her erratic dad, Wink (Henry), in a remote bayou region of Louisiana – a ramshackle trailer community of hard-living waifs and strays. Hushpuppy’s fears of the rising waters and her confused feelings about her parents (her dad is ill, her mum is dead) mean she slips into a world of imagination that involves strange prehistoric beasts and melting ice caps.

There are hints that the story is taking place at the time of Hurricane Katrina, but little about it is so concrete. This is a fairytale in which we regularly slip out of the real world and into another inside an over-imaginative child’s head. And what a crazy, fun, circus-like world it is, full of poetry and pain.

By Dave Calhoun
Time Out Doha,

Beasts of the Southern Wild

  • Duration: 93
  • Released: Thu, 14 Mar
  • Classification: G
  • Language: English
  • Director: Benh Zeitlin
  • Stars: Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry, Levy Easterly, Gina Montana, Philip Lawrence, Lowell Landes, Pamela Harper, Amber Henry

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