‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ is the extraordinary new feature from first-time director Benh Zeitlin which recalls the poetic storytelling of Terrence Malick and classic American literature like Huckleberry Finn.
Six-year-old Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) lives with her father Wink (Dwight Henry) in The Bathtub, an isolated community in the Louisiana bayous where the inhabitants have shunned modern conveniences to live self-sufficiently. Here Hushpuppy spends much of her time exploring and making sense of the world around her while her father disappears for days on end. To her the natural world is a complex chain of living breathing things which are dependent on each other for survival. Meanwhile, the threat of fierce storms and the appearance of prehistoric creatures known as aurochs only strengthens Hushpuppy’s determination to survive and find her mother who ‘swam away’ many years ago, according to her father.
Zeitlin’s film neatly captures a people whose way of life is far removed from the modern industrialised world that exists on the other side of the levees. In fact, at times it can seem as though we are witnessing the last survivors of a post-apocalyptic world which has been ravaged by the effects of climate change. In the main role, Wallis turns in a compelling performance as the tomboyish Hushpuppy, effortlessly conveying the world around her through the eyes of a child as she tries desperately to hold on to all she holds dear against powerful forces.
‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ is a film that people will draw their own impressions from, whether it be one with an environmental message, a story about family and roots or even a fantasy adventure. Whatever your thoughts, this is a film that will delight you and remind you once again of the magic of cinema.
‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ will be screened at The Source Arts Centre in Thurles on Wednesday, May 8th at 8pm. Tickets are priced at E9 (E7 concession and E5 for Film Club Members). For more information please contact the box office on 0504 90204 or visit www.thesourceartscentre.ie.