|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:|
|Original title:||Beasts of the Southern Wild|
|Production country:||USA 2012|
|Running time:||Ca. 96 min.|
|Rated:||From 12 years|
In the bayous behind the dikes, which are supposed to protect New Orleans from flooding, lies Bathtub, a small settlement deep in the swamps where outcasts of society have built their own existence. Also little Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) lives with her father (Dwight Henry) in Bathtub. Her constantly drunk father can't give Hushpuppy any support, no answers to the many questions that torture the little girl. Rather, the man, who has been bitter since the death of his wife, tries to make it clear to his daughter that he too will die sometime and that she will be left to her own devices. And that day might come sooner than I thought. Because Hushpuppy's father is very sick. In addition, a storm of the century is threatening the region, which, Hushpuppy is convinced, also brings with it a horde of prehistoric monsters that have been freed from the eternal ice by climate change. The end seems near, and yet Hushpuppy, just like the other inhabitants of Bathtub, doesn't want to leave their homeland and give up hope for a better future…
With his first feature film "Beasts of the Southern Wild" the filmmaker Benh Zeitlin, founding member of the artists' collective Court 13, together with other members of the collective has staged a fascinating but also somewhat bulky art film. The film takes an imaginative but at the same time unadorned, realistic look at the world beyond the dikes of New Orleans, a region in which its own parallel society clings to centuries-old culture and traditions. In the fictitious Bathtub, people live excluded from society. Poverty and alcohol determine life here. The danger of a natural disaster hovers omnipresent over the people who live here. And yet they have preserved their will to live. They take every opportunity to spontaneously call a holiday and love their region. That they don't want to leave their small world even when they are asked to do so by the government after a flood can therefore be easily understood.
In the midst of the barren Bayou settlement lives the little Hushpuppy, who leads through the film as a narrator. She moves with a lot of imagination in an almost magical way through a world dominated by desolation, destruction and poverty. How she sees and processes the loss of her mother, the impending death of her father and the destruction of her home in her very own way is really a very special film experience thanks to the artistic staging and the enormously strong and authentic play of rediscovery Quvenzhané Wallis.
The excessive use of the very blurred hand camera optics is somewhat exhausting. Why this almost seems to be part of the good sound in arthouse movies, remains a real mystery to me, as "Beasts of the Southern Wild" in its visually calmer moments has wonderful and extremely strong pictures to offer, which lose much of their magic when the camera shakes hectically back and forth. Of course, it's purely a matter of taste whether you like this style or whether you find it rather exhausting. The fact is, however, that it's the moments in which the camera captures the action very calmly that remain lastingly in our memories.
"Beasts of the Southern Wild" is definitely a special film. Certainly too special for a mainstream audience, since the way Zeitlin tells his story often evades common viewing habits. But if you have a penchant for artistic independent cinema from the USA, if you like to cross the border between reality and the surreal and simply want to experience something quite unusual, then this American surprise success is definitely recommended to you. Worth seeing
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp