Film shows resilience is not futile

The Vernon Film Society shows Beasts of the Southern Wild at the Towne Cinema on Monday, Oct. 15.

Quvenzhané Wallis stars as Hushpuppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Quvenzhané Wallis stars as Hushpuppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Winner of the Grand Jury prize and Best Cinematography at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, Beasts of the Southern Wild is the stunning debut of first-time film maker Benh Zeitlin.

Adapted and written by playwright Lucy Alibar, the film alludes to a number of artistic masterpieces, paying homage to great works of literature, painting, and cinema.

At home in the “bathtub,” a marshland cut off from the coast of Southern Louisiana, an unapologetically uncivilized band of humans lives alongside the animals that sustain them, blissfully disconnected to their resource-burning neighbours to the north.

Among them, six-year-old Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) already fends well for herself, sharing a trailer with her father, Wink (Dwight Henry), who hasn’t been the same since Hushpuppy’s mother left them years earlier.

Wink can be cruel at times, although his tough love is intended to prepare Hushpuppy for when he’s no longer there to protect her.  When Wink contracts a mysterious illness, nature flies out of whack – temperatures rise and water levels surge, creating an ominous and terrifying climate.

Arguably the soul of the film, newcomer Wallis delivers a passionate and intense performance as the defiant and imaginative young heroine.

Existing entirely in its own universe, Beasts of the Southern Wild is equal parts mythological, anthropological, folkloric, and apocalyptic. An emotionally wrenching and heartfelt portrayal between a father and his daughter, it is not to be missed.

“This film is a remarkable creation,  imagining a self-reliant community without the safety nets of the industrialized world,” wrote film critic Roger Ebert, with the Chicago Sun-Times.

Beasts of the Southern Wild will be shown at the Vernon Towne Cinema Monday, Oct. 15 at 5:15 p.m. and 7:45 p.m.  Tickets are available at the door and one week ahead at the theatre and the Bean Scene for $7.