QuvenzhanÃ© Wallis 6 year old star of #sundance hit Beasts of Southern Wild
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Quvenzhane' Wallis 6 year old star of #sundance hit Beasts of Southern Wild by rasdourian
( A Review of Beasts Of Southern Wild)"Faced with both her hot-tempered father's fading health and melting ice-caps that flood her ramshackle bayou community and unleash ancient aurochs, six-year-old Hushpuppy must learn the ways of courage and love. Director: Benh Zeitlin. Writers: Lucy Alibar (screenplay) and Benh Zeitlin (screenplay.
Bayou images: drinking water:
"The pumps move freshwater from the Mississippi River into Bayou Lafourche, which is the drinking water source for 300,000 people living downstream from Donaldsonville."
The question that bothered me at first when I watched Beasts Of Southern Wild was this: What potable water were Hushpuppy and her people drinking? Inadvertently, I had already considered the six-year-old girl a leader of the tribe. It was her Bayou, they were her people, and she was their fairy. She was not born in some family; she had been there forever.
Apparently, the Bayou Lafourche is the main freshwater reservoir for the people there. I doubt, though, that the Hushpuppy people drink that water. They live in the Bath Tube and that defines it. That's the place surrounded by levies, the place of the perpetual water motion. One day everything is flooded and on the next day the bottom crabs crawl into your shack. They probably drink swamp water and it does not harm them, because the Hushpuppy people are the people of the swamp. They survive. They always survive
This is the movie I will watch again with my grandchildren. I will point at Quvenzhane' Wallis playing Hushpuppy and say, "Watch this girl. She is self-aware."
Self-awareness is something we are rapidly losing. We have a whole generation of people who do
not know who they are. Adult men and women run around like crazies. They deceive,
lie, cheat, kill--behave unnaturally, all because they don't know who they
are. The only thing they know is how to accumulate money: more and more, so that maybe
they can retire at 60 and at last discover who they were. Hushpuppy knew who she was at six. Those aurochs stopped in front of her for a
reason; she was Nature itself.
Once I was stunned by a Masaya girl on the cover of National Geographic. She had a face. We strive for a face: big men with desperate eyes trying to improve our image. We dye our hair, work out like crazy, take Viagra, and cheat our bosses. By the time we reach 60, we can boast a distinguished look and display at least some personality. That 12-year-old on the magazine cover had it all right there: dignity, courage, confidence, beauty. She was a natural. I pinned that photo over my desk at work. Through fourteen years, nobody ever asked me about her. In the fifteenth year a grayish engineering veteran said, "Forgive me, but could you please tell me who is on this photo?"
"The human face," I said. "The personification of dignity."
"I thought so," he said. "I hadn't seen a real face for a long time."
I remembered that face when I saw Hushpuppy. That Bath Tube
was designated by other people as a place of death. The levies cut off the life
flows and the idea was that everything would eventually die there. As for the
people, who cared? They were crazy anyway. They lived in shacks, ate anything
they could, denied themselves medical care, and surely did not pay taxes. From
time to time they would make mischief and try to blow up the levee, and then they
would be rounded up and put into a hospital for treatment. If they escaped, nobody would pursue them to
try to get them back, and the hospital would be happy
to save the expense.
To the surrounding world, the Bath Tube people were the Beasts of Southern Wild. Hushpuppy, her miserable father, that lady-teacher, those crazy beer-drinkers: all of them were ghosts. They didn't even have real names. What kind of a name is Hushpuppy? I would guess none of them had a Social Security number. But if you or I or some administrator were to confront those ferocious aurochs, none of us would survive without Hushpuppy's help. Who is lost, I wonder?
Long ago I read something similar. In my former country they built many artificial dams for hydraulic power stations, flooding vast areas. I read a story about a village designated for such a fate. People had lived there for centuries. For them the village was alive: those old log cabins, those ancient apple trees, that watermill, and even mushrooms. Every fall the villagers would go mushrooming and gather cedar nuts. I am an urban child, but even my family would hunt for mushrooms every fall. In that Siberian village mushrooms were their livelihood. They would marinate them, fry them in sour cream, make mushroom dough, and feed the animals. Every mushroom had a story to tell and there were strict rules on how to gather them without destroying the root system, so they could grow back the next year. How, then, would the people feel if they were told to leave the place forever? They mourned their home as they mourned the dead.
Hushpuppy and her people didn't mourn; they blended. They
became a part of the powerful force of Nature, tapping into the mystical wave energy of the Bayou. At the
end of the story, it was as if they lived not in the U.S., but in the Bath Tube--a
mysterious place where anything could happen, where ancient animals came back
to life and you could speak to a crayfish.