The new movie "Beasts of the Southern Wild" has made waves in the film industry with its release this week with a unique and poignant tale.
Directed by Benh Zeitlin, the film follows 6-year-old Hushpuppy who captivated the audience with her powerful stares and exuberant energy.
Set in the fictional "Bathtub," a forgotten bayou community in Louisiana, Hushpuppy is constantly battling for survival alongside her ailing father, Wink, and their limited neighbors. The community is separated by the rest of society by a levee.
Imagination is blended with reality as the story of Hushpuppy and her hometown unfold. When a flood buries the small town, the community is cut off from the world due to the levee.
In the role of Hushpuppy is young newcomer Quvenzhane Wallis, while Dwight Henry plays dedicated but blood-poisoned Wink. Both actors are native to Louisiana.
The audience experiences the world through Hushpuppy where childlike perception dominates reality. She and her father believe in ancient hog-like animals Aurochs that kill anything they sense is weak, and that the giant animals are coming to claim her hometown. Hushpuppy believes that by holding back tears and displaying her strength, she can save her father and their community.
Wink uses tough love to teach Hushpuppy how survive without him, and scenes between the struggling characters are deeply touching.
Residents of the Bathtub refuse to evacuate or accept aid, but instead adjust to their new surroundings. Despite being flooded, the Bathtub community remains in place helping one another by fishing, drinking, and storytelling.
Hushpuppy's teacher helps instruct children of the Bathtub, explaining: "You gotta take care of those smaller and sweeter than you."
The rarely-seen portion of America call on memories from footage taken after Hurricane Katrina, and the film ignites a sense of family and home.
Adapted from the play "Juicy and Delicious" by Lucy Alibar, "Beasts" offers a unique glimpse of a world that casts off norms of society as well as politics, religion, or race.
The film was supported by the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program and saw rave reviews during this year's Sundance Film Festival, taking home the prestigious Grand Jury Prize.
"Beasts of the Southern Wild" is playing in theaters in New York City and Los Angeles.