SPOTLIGHT FILMS: Beasts of the Southern Wild
Despite a sliding reality scale (it is overlain with some well-filmed tasteful fantasy and an historical inaccuracy) and issues with the Screen Actors’ Guild, Spotlight Films’ next show, Beasts of the Southern Wild, has garnered a fair share of praise and awards including the Sundance Festival Grand Jury Prize and Best First Feature at the Palme D’or. This flick also appears to have a broadening fan/cult base.
Hushpuppy (Quvenzhane Wallis), a daring and somewhat precocious six-year-old, lives with her father, Wink (Dwight Henry), in the Bathtub, a southern Delta community. Wink’s tough love prepares Hushpuppy for the unraveling of the universe; for a time when he’s no longer there to protect her. Wink contracts a mysterious illness, nature flies out of whack, temperatures rise, and the ice caps melt unleashing an army of creatures called aurochs, large boar-like beasts. Aurochs were actually more cow-like and the last one died in 1627. With the waters rising, the aurochs coming, and Wink’s health fading, Hushpuppy, craving universal harmony, goes in search of her lost mother.
Directed by Benh Zeitlin (Glory At Sea), who also co-wrote the screenplay with Lucy Alibar, this fantasy/thriller, this artfully crafted bit of cinema has inspired glowing adjectives from none other than Rotten Tomatoes, a tough audience indeed. Seldom does one read the likes of “…bracingly original…”, “…utterly beguiling…”, and “…unbridled imagination…” on their review site.
Neither Wallis nor Henry have much acting claim but Henry did live, neck deep, through the Katrina crisis. Also featured is Levy Easterly (Glory At Sea) as Jean Battiste.
Beasts of the Southern Wild will be shown at 7:30 on Tuesday Oct, 16 at the Gem Theatre and please note the date since it will not be the last Tuesday of the month.
Thanks to IMDB the Sundance Film Festival review and Rotten Tomatoes. Thanks, also, to the sponsors and supporters.