Beasts Of The Southern Wild - London Film Festival

Beasts Of The Southern Wild – London Film Festival

Set in the Deep South of an America threatened by ‘a great flood’, Beasts Of The Southern Wild tells the story of 5 year old, Hush Puppy, and her dad, Wink, as they try to live their lives in ‘The Bathtub’ – the southern most part of the USA that has been left for the waters to claim as it’s own.

Within ‘The Bathtub’ lives a community of people dedicated to their lands and their family. They fish, the drink, they tell stories of great creatures that will come to ravage the land, and they live the life that they want. It would be all to easy to describe this film as a Katrina Metaphore and director, Benh Zeitlin handles this film and it’s inhabitants with such delicacy that such ideas are quickly forgotten. Yes, there are striking images of makeshift boats made from the flatbeds of abandoned trucks, and houses that perch over the edges of great plains, but this film is about the power of togetherness and community – never so much that it feels forced or sentimental, just essential to life.

Falling somewhere between The Road and Terrance Malick, Beast Of The Southern Wild is a lyrical poem that transports you into it’s surroundings with a grace that can only be seen through the eyes of it’s five-year old lead character.

Carefully observed moments of romance and beauty are at times both nostalgic and idealistic without ever seeming forced or false. A number of particularly arresting moments come with the frequent voice of Hush Puppy who observes human behaviour with the honesty of innocence lost in a dark world, ‘…When people get sick, we plug them into the wall’.

Ignoring the old addage of ‘never work with children, animals or on water’, Behn Zeitlin and his cast of unprofessional actors and real-life Louisiana residents have created a truly remarkable film that excels in every area. Perhaps though, it’s greatest assest is it’s two leads. Hush Puppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) and Wink (Dwight Henry) have a relationship of tought love and abandonment. We do not know what has happened to their mother and wife, but the impact her absence has on these characters is portrayed with a raw power and brutal honesty by both. Most notably though is the fact that Quvenzhane (just 5 years old when the picture was shot) is slowly revealed to be carrying the weight of this ambitious film and, in doing so, delivers one of the greatest child performances of all time.

Beast Of The Southern Wild is shot beautifully on Super 16mm; scored and written without a Hollywood sentiment; perfectly acted, realised and contained within it’s own hand-craften diegesis; and produced under the care and attention of a group of filmmakers, artists and playwrights who wanted to create a human story. They have excelled beyond all expectations at every level, crafting a truly memorable; truly touching masterpiece. Simply Brilliant.


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.