“Beasts of the Southern Wild,” the highly celebrated Sundance film that took the top awards at the film festival, has a new trailer and a release date.
The film centers around a six-year-old black girl who’s father’s health is fading and her search for her mother. All of this after a hurricane causes environmental changes that result in the release of an army of prehistoric creatures called aurochs.
“Nothing else at this year’s festival came close to stirring up the excitement and sense of discovery generated by ‘Beasts,’” New York Times critic Manhola Dargis wrote shortly after Sundance.
She also warned us of the impending race comments that may come if the movie does as well as everyone predicts.
“I heard one industry type wonder aloud if Hushpuppy was ‘retarded or just black and poor,’” Dargis wrote.
So prepare yourselves.
Hushpuppy, an intrepid six-year-old girl, lives with her father, Wink, in “the Bathtub,” a southern Delta community at the edge of the world. Wink’s tough love prepares her for the unraveling of the universe; for a time when he’s no longer there to protect her. When Wink contracts a mysterious illness, nature flies out of whack—temperatures rise, and the ice caps melt, unleashing an army of prehistoric creatures called aurochs. With the waters rising, the aurochs coming, and Wink’s health fading, Hushpuppy goes in search of her lost mother.
Hushpuppy is not just the film’s heroine; she’s its soul. Beasts of the Southern Wild exists entirely in its own universe: mythological, anthropological, folkloric, and apocalyptic. Benh Zeitlin’s first feature (a Sundance Institute Feature Film Program project) employs a cast of nonactors—reflecting its grassroots production—to fiercely portray the bond between father and daughter in a world where only the strong survive. Standing defiantly at the end of the world, Hushpuppy affirms the dignity of telling their own story: that they were once there.
Fox Searchlight picked up “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and will release it on June 27.
Watch the video below with director Benh Zeitlin discussing his process shooting the independent film.