Beasts of the Southern Wild

«   1    2    3    4   »

“It’s a film so completely unique that it’s hard to imagine how it was even made.” — Damon Wise, The Guardian

Director: Benh Zeitlin
Year: 2012
Country: USA
Running time: 93 mins
Censor Rating: M - violence, horror

Producers: Michael Gottwald, Dan Janvey, Josh Penn
Screenplay: Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin. Based on the play Juicy and Delicious by Lucy Alibar
Photography: Ben Richardson
Editors: Crockett Doob, Affonso Gonçalves
Costume designer: Stephani Lewis
Music: Dan Romer, Benh Zeitlin

With: Quvenzhané Wallis (Hushpuppy), Dwight Henry (Wink), Levy Easterly (Jean Battiste), Lowell Landes (Walrus), Pamela Harper (Little Jo), Gina Montana (Miss Bathsheeba), Amber Henry (LZA), Jonshel Alexander (Joy Strong), Nicholas Clark (Sticks), Henry D. Coleman (Peter T)

Festivals: Sundance, Cannes (Un Certain Regard) 2012

Grand Jury Prize (Dramatic), Sundance Film Festival 2012
Camera d’Or (Best First Film), Cannes Film Festival 2012

We open the year’s programme with an exhilarating rush of pagan festivity and a declaration of confidence in brilliant, purely cinematic originality. There’s a collective of artisanal talent informing every frame of this wild blend of social realism and eco-sci-fi. Winner of the Grand Jury and Cinematography Awards at Sundance, Beasts also took the Camera d’Or for Best First Film at Cannes in May.

“A visionary film which creates, with passionate conviction and a mastery of film language, a world I had never seen on screen before… Narrated by Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis), a motherless child who lives with Wink (Dwight Henry), her hard-drinking father, and a dozen or two others on the lush, precarious islands just past the levees that failed New Orleans, the film is not so much magic realism as a realistic depiction of a child’s imagination grappling with the beauties and mortal dangers of the natural world and with the humans who nurture it, or threaten its balance and their own lives in the bargain…

From the opening deep-night fireworks procession through the swamp to the rampaging herd of prehistoric wild boar set loose by the collapse of the polar ice caps, to the shimmering mirage of the Elysian Fields – a river gambling boat where Hushpuppy dances with her long-lost mother – Beasts of the Southern Wild is all heart, a tactile, tender, uncensored, unsentimental, anarchic, moral guide to finding one’s place on the planet. If that sounds sappy, Beasts is not, in part thanks to the mixture of gravity and spontaneity in its star, only six years old when the film was shot.” — Amy Taubin, Film Comment

NZIFF STAFF PICK: Bill Gosden, Natalie Gilberd, Brooke Hawe, Josh Thomas

To view this movie you must have Adobe Flash Player version 9 or higher and javascript turned on.