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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