A huge storm is headed straight toward a Louisiana bayou community… and a five-year-old and her sick dad (Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry). Director Benh Zeitlin’s first feature film became a critical darling, as well as a favorite of President Barack Obama’s. Connecting climate change with criticism against federal and state response to major hurricanes like Katrina in 2005, the movie tries to explain anti-government sentiments and relies on anger, Southern flavor and a sense of imagination. Focus lies on a very complex father-daughter relationship, brought to life by the two amateur leads’ passionate performances.
2012-U.S. 93 min. Color. Produced by Michael Gottwald, Dan Janvey, Josh Penn. Directed by Benh Zeitlin. Screenplay: Benh Zeitlin, Lucy Alibar. Play: Lucy Alibar (“Juicy and Delicious”). Cinematography: Ben Richardson. Music: Dan Romer, Benh Zeitlin. Cast: Quvenzhané Wallis (Hushpuppy), Dwight Henry (Wink), Henry D. Coleman (Peter T), Levy Easterly, Pamela Harper, Jovan Hathaway.
Last word: “The way we built the character’s understanding of the story, the arc, is that I would tell [Wallis] the whole story. We would do these sessions where I would sit down with her and I would tell her the story like it was a folk tale or something. We would talk about it in that context and then I would sort of get her perspective and write it into the film. Then I would ask her questions about animals and about the end of the world, and about all these things she talks about in the film. We would use her language and the way she thought about things to inform the script.” (Zeitlin, About.com)