Saturday, December 14, 2013

Louisiana Movies: Beasts of the Southern Wild



Movie: Beasts of the Southern Wild

Provenance:   Filmed in Terrebone Parish, Louisiana. A film about a tight, isolated community in Louisiana.   

Synopsis (excerpted from here):

In a forgotten but defiant bayou community cut off from the rest of the world by a sprawling levee, a six-year-old girl, Hushpuppy, exists on the brink of orphanhood. Buoyed by her childish optimism and extraordinary imagination, she believes that the natural order is in balance with the universe until a fierce storm changes her reality. Desperate to repair the structure of her world in order to save her ailing father and sinking home, this tiny hero must learn to survive unstoppable catastrophes of epic proportions.
In a forgotten but defiant bayou community cut off from the rest of the world by a sprawling levee, a six-year-old girl, Hushpuppy, exists on the brink of orphanhood. Buoyed by her childish optimism and extraordinary imagination, she believes that the natural order is in balance with the universe until a fierce storm changes her reality. Desperate to repair the structure of her world in order to save her ailing father and sinking home, this tiny hero must learn to survive unstoppable catastrophes of epic proportions. - See more at: http://www.beastsofthesouthernwild.com/about#sthash.18Px8VR9.dpuf




The movie is an emotional rocker almost from start to finish.

The people of the Bathtub reminded me of what Paata said once about the Svaneti in the Caucasus Mountains - "The Svans are our wild Georgians," meaning they are people who have lived to their own code for centuries, are isolated, and renowned for their ferocity, independence, and endurance.



More poignantly, they reminded me of the wild creatures tattooed on the teacher's thigh - magnificent, but now gone. Or of a wiki-stub, where there's some knowledge of the topic, but not much, a sort of informational dead-end.

Louisiana's Isle de Jean Charles, a disintegrating island in Terrebone Parish, was one of several inspirations for director Benh Zeitlin's vision for the film. 

There are innumerable chapters that shine in the movie, so I'll just pick one sequence to share because of its painting of girl power and vulnerability: When the four little girls commenced to the water after a warrior's scream, and then swam to a boat for ferrying to a floating bar ... subsequent scenes of tenderness between the girls and the women who worked there .. the exchange between Hushpuppy and ... well, I don't want to spoil things for anyone who hasn't seen the movie yet.

Recommend? Yes! Have tissue on hand. 

Note: The Making of documentary that is also on the DVD is almost as engrossing as the movie itself.

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