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Hah! At last a “different” movie, not caring about what categories and boxes and drawers there are to fit films in. Firstly: this film defies all categories. It is what some call a “surprise”. It shouldn’t have been, actually. If a film becomes the favourite of all the critics who have a chance to see it at the festivals, and if it becomes the Sundance favourite (if I remember correctly), then it should not surprise that it is “special”, “unconventional”, and sometimes even “hypnotic”. Although… sometimes what is the critics’ favourite turns out to be a rather mainstream version of harmless arthouse produce, made to lure the more mature girlfriends’ groups into the theatre for a latte macchiato, a prosecco and a screening. I am writing this because “Beasts of the Southern Wild” had a little bit of this, but then again it didn’t… it confuses me. It confused and enthused me so much that once I had seen it, I felt I need to see at least the second half again, which I did right away. I was not less confused after that, but even more thrilled.

The film features a 6-year old girl called “Hushpuppy”, living in the surreal world of I guess the US south, not too far from New Orleans. It can be read anywhere, but it should still be noted: Quvenzhané Wallis, playing Hushpuppy, is the most awesome child actor you will have seen in … don’t know, a century? It is a decrepit place, almost post-Apocalyptic, but no Apocalypse has happened, only the Levees have cut off this part of the world called the “Bath Tub”. It took me a while to understand that this is a real place in a real location, because it is set in scene as an almost dreamlike allegory of lost worlds, forgotten by civilization, thrown back to self-reliance and primal needs. They all live in a parallel world, supplied with food and education by boats, holding on to the few possessions they have.

You will probably find a story in the movie, something like: the people, led by the unlikely hero Hushpuppy, decide to free themselves from the slavery of the levee, but that would do the film no justice. The important part is Hushpuppy’s voice-over, her observations on life, people, parents, prehistoric creatures. Now thinking about it, the narrator in Schloendorff’s film version of Grass’ “Tin Drum” must be one of the spiritual fathers of this structure. She is vigorous, clever, vulnerable, and absolutely fearless when it comes to meeting her adversaries (hospital staff, hurricanes, beasts). She listens to chickens’ bellies because she believes their heartbeat have a story to tell. And they do, Hushpuppy can tell you all about it if you let her  …

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/beasts_of_the_southern_wild/

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One Comment

  1. Beasts of the Southern Wild is definitely one of my favorites of 2012.


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