Sunday, July 22, 2012

Movie Night

Beasts of the Southern Wild was much touted at a Sundance Festival and will be talked about quite a bit. The film makers are imaginative and brave in telling a story about independent people living on a small island doomed by hurricane Katrina. The focal character is a small girl called Hush Puppy who lives with her father in squalor - which is the state of life on the island called Bathtub. Adults all drink a lot, a school  teacher tries to give the children (in this case all girls) some education about the world beyond their island, including that climate change is inevitable.  Hush Puppy has thoughts about life and death possibly beyond her age and she sees giant beasts, not the aurochs that teacher has shown from cave paintings but enormous wild boars.

Many people leave the island when the storm is about it hit but several stay and managed to survive with their cobbled together boats although they are eventually forcefully taken off the island by federal officials with helicopters.  Reality and fantasy intertwine often throughout the movie and especially toward the end.  I have a deep prejudice against the easy sentiment of using children as the main characters.  I feel manipulated when a child endures too much and survives. The filmmakers made bold choices when they introduced the fantasy beasts -- the beasts both relieved the awfulness of human life while being too obvious symbols of the basic survival instinct.  One of the goals of film making is to leave indelible imagines in the viewer's memory.  That was accomplished. The little girl with an unspellable and unpronounceable name was a wonderful child actor and her father was brilliant as the fiercely independent, never warm but deeply but ignorantly responsible father

2 comments:

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

Fantasy and reality mixed. Sounds unique. Do you find it on Netflix? I'll add it to my list of movies I want to view -- barbara

June Calender said...

I don't think it will be on Netflix for a while yet. It's just being distributed to movie theatres, mostly the arty kind.