Benh Zeitlin’s film is set at the time of the Katrina devastation and features a community of mixed-race eccentrics living on floating huts or primitive dwellings raised on stilts in a fictional bayou – on the water-side of the levee. The film is seen through the eyes of its central character, 6 year-old Hushpuppy (wonderfully played by Quvenzhané Wallis), who lives with her ailing, hard-drinking, fisherman father Wink (played by Dwight Henry who, in real life, ran the local bakery next to the studio!).It’s a bizarre mixture of mysterious fable and apocalypse – featuring strange prehistoric creatures and the search of the absent mother who, according to family legend, was so pretty she could light the gas stove just by walking past it.
I came away with mixed feelings about the film – both impressed and perplexed perhaps? It’ll probably receive plaudits from most critics and, no doubt, calls for Wallis to be given an Oscar. I’m not so sure.