Monthly Archives: June 2012

BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD

Benh Zeitlin’s directorial debut is a powerfully-moving, imaginative and hand-crafted modern fairy tale from the perspective of the bravest New Orleans denizen ever captured on film. Six-year-old newcomer Quvenzhane Wallis stars (!) as Hushpuppy, an androgynous young girl in post-Katrina Louisiana who resides in a shack with her alcoholic, violently frustrated father (fellow newcomer Dwight Henry) perched in a rural area dubbed “the Bathtub.” When young Hushpuppy finds that her father is dying, realizing she has no mother to raise her, she must learn to survive on her own. This crushing reality is intermixed beautifully with stunning imagination on the part of Zeitlin, whose young heroine believes that when Global Warming destroys the ice caps once and for all, her world and everything inside will be ravaged by giant prehistoric buffalo. The results are a powerful concoction of American neo-realism and magical fantasy – one film I won’t soon forget.

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MICHAEL MANN

“I been out in the world, giving my word – and backing it up with action!”

–          Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino) in The Insider (1999), 60 Minutes producer

If there was ever an appropriate saying that could encapsulate all of a filmmaker’s work, for Michael Mann it would most likely be: “A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.”  In the world of Michael Mann, if there is a recurring theme with which he seems obsessed it may be the association between a code of professionalism and the question of what it means to be a man. The rogue’s gallery of characters in Mann’s oeuvre tend toward a type of professionalism – often confusing their jobs with who they are as people, or men (as in 2006’s Miami Vice). Continue reading

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