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Beasts of the Southern Wild

Directed by Benh Zeitlin

USA, 2011

Cornerhouse, 26 October 2012

Beasts of the Southern Wild

One of those films, like Death Watch say, that fall under the heading of present day sci-fi (or fantasy, maybe) – and a dazzling instance of it.

She lives feral in a series of makeshift structures does the central character, a young girl called Hushpuppy (played by the amazingly talented Quvenzhané Wallis), and she has a close but troubled relationship with her father.  In difficult circumstances they eke out a living – the girl’s mother seems to have deserted them both – and then an almighty storm strikes their isolated and marginalised community.  Hushpuppy’s world is altered forever, her very existence is threatened.

Thou, O Lord, hast freed us from the fear of death.  Yet we all still wish to live, and this child has a ferocious vitality about her and an extraordinary will to survive.  Therefore, the world provides.

Benh Zeitlin has made a brilliant film, which insinuates itself into your own world-view, adding to it (the allusion to Katrina is clear) and modifying it in some measure.  It will haunt your imagination for a very long time indeed.