Thursday, March 19, 2015

3 Short Paragraphs: Beasts of the Southern Wild

2012, Benh Zeitlin -- Netflix

There is a fault in waiting so long to see movies I was anticipating, but never got around to watching. It is a deflation of expectations, expectations that likely inflated with time, as actual memory of why I was anticipating it was supplanted by a simple, vague recollection. That was a rather wordy way of saying I wasn't as intrigued and impressed by this very very indie movie, as I hoped I would be.

Its a fairy tale in the near future where the oceans rise. Its the American south, called The Bathtub. Hushpuppy lives there with her dad Wink, in a subsistence lifestyle that most would view as extreme, utter poverty, the kind we see on TV depicting poor Africans. But they don't live a hopeless life, as there is plenty of food and there must be some money, as Wink never seems to be without booze. Hushpuppy is the innocent, very in tune with her existence and all the lives and creatures around her. She is aware the waters are going to rise, but like her dad, she lives a happy go lucky life. When it happens, it happens.

And it happens. Even in this fairy tale of innocence, there is darkness. The rising oceans kill the land. The rich people behind walls want to forcibly relocate the people of The Bathtub. And really, she doesn't live in an idyllic place -- its all garbage and Wink & his friends are almost always drunk. They aren't the most responsible protagonists. But despite all this crassness, this unseemly characterizing, this movie is incredibly novel and new. The actors are almost entirely non-actors, real people acting as real people do. You will never see a setting so intricate and authentic. I guess I just wanted the story to be more subtle, more intriguing. And for the beasts to play more than allegory come to life.