by Hiko Mitsuzuka
To celebrate today's DVD/Blu-ray release of Fox Searchlight's Beasts of the Southern Wild, we're offering why we think it's one of the most beautiful, original, and heartbreaking pieces of filmmaking we've seen all year.
1. Quvenzhané Wallis - The young unknown was just 5 when she was cast to play brave protagonist Hushpuppy, a girl living in a forgotten Louisiana bayou she and her father call The Bathtub. Rare is the child actor who can convey such raw emotions in such an effortless performance. This is the stuff Oscar dreams are made of.
2. It's a daring fable for our time - Beasts simultaneously works as an environmental cautionary tale, an unflinching yet whimsical portrait of America's invisible class, a glimpse into a fractured father-daughter relationship, and a much-needed call to action concerning the nation's impoverished.
3. The Authenticity - Everything from its organic production design to its casting of actual Louisiana locals may cause the casual viewer to mistake this for a documentary, it's that real and raw.
4. Dwight Henry - The non-actor -- he was discovered working in a bakery across the street from the abandoned gas station production had used as a base of operations -- is powerful as Wink, Hushpuppy's sick father who must make a difficult decision for the sake of his daughter's uncertain future.
5. It reassures that passionate, independent filmmaking can still make waves - Simple as that.
Check out the digital flipbook that celebrates the film's release HERE.