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Sundance Sensation 'Beasts Of The Southern Wild' Arrives On June 29th

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by Kevin Jagernauth
February 22, 2012 11:36 AM
13 Comments
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As usual, the Sundance Film Festival this year had its share of buzzworthy films, but no movie was talked about more by people in Park City than Benh Zeitlin's "Beasts Of The Southern Wild." The debut feature from the helmer drew breathless praise, even as critics struggled to put into words the exact nature of the reportedly deeply evocative, Grand Jury prize-winning film. Our own A-grade review of the movie said it's "as unique as it is uneven, as unforgettable as it is uncomfortable, and trembles with the energy, bravura and passion of director Zeitlin, his cast and his crew like some rough animal snorting and stamping with horrible wonder and the possibility of both loss and understanding." Hell, yeah. And Fox Searchlight is wasting no time getting it in theaters.

Box Office Mojo (via /Film) has tweeted: "Fox Searchlight just scheduled Sundance sensation BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD for a limited bow on June 29, 2012." The summer slot seems to indicate that the studio is taking a page out of their "The Tree Of Life" playbook (indeed 'Beasts' has drawn numerous comparisons to Terrence Malick), and as we guessed in our Cannes prediction piece, we think the film is pretty much guaranteed to be making some kind of appearance on the Croisette. Our guess is that it'll make the Un Certain Regard category. And for those of you wondering, Cannes does sometimes relax their "premieres only" policy as they did in 2010 for "Blue Valentine."

Either way, for the rest of us who couldn't make it to Utah, we're excited to see the film and glad it's coming much sooner than expected.

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13 Comments

  • Bakunin | February 22, 2012 10:27 PMReply

    Is a trailer for this out?

  • Philip Lawrence | February 22, 2012 9:54 PMReply

    I played Dr. Maloney in the film. The performances - and in partiuclar those of the two leads - were genuine and powerful, in large part because Benh gave the actors so much leeway in developing their characters, even if some of the performances may seem - especially to those who haven't spent much time in the deep south - stereotypical. Bravo to Benh and everyone who made this a successful film!

  • Carl | February 22, 2012 8:23 PMReply

    I apologize for the implication that Lucy Alibar is not southern, I was referring to Benh Zeitlin specifically and the remark was meant to clarify the issue of how the performances might be perceived as racist stereotypes, despite the actors themselves being black. I do mean to suggest that they are or are not racist, but with the question of "how" could they be seen that way, it seemed worth mentioning.

  • Barbara | February 22, 2012 7:06 PMReply

    Mike, I don't know exactly where your bitterness comes from. You miss the point of the movie. It is about the end of the world: The overwhelming feeling that it is the end of the world when a parent dies; the end of the world as global warming wreaks its havoc; the end of the world in the Bayou as the water continues to rise. For example, there is a road out to Homa that is barely above the water. As for your racist stereotypes: Benh Zeitlin explained at the first premier, the fact that the main character and her father are black is merely because they were far and away the best who auditioned for the parts. Sincerely, Lucy Alibar's mother; and yes she is born and raised Southern

  • Peter D. Wolf | February 22, 2012 4:01 PMReply

    I saw the film at Sundance and thought it was beautiful, i can't really see why anyone would say that there are racist stereotyping in the movie. Where Mike S, where? Do you even know what you're talking about? If yes, than explain yourself please.

  • Carl | February 22, 2012 3:32 PMReply

    To be fair, the writer/director of Beasts is neither southern nor black.

  • Meredith | February 22, 2012 6:24 PM

    Alibar. Sorry I miss-spelled her name. She was the original playwright.

  • Meredith | February 22, 2012 6:22 PM

    The original writer, Lucy Alabar is indeed southern. She grew up in the swampy area around north Florida on a farm. Can't get more southern than a poor southern farm girl.

  • hank | February 22, 2012 3:08 PMReply

    seriously, everything is California's fault.

  • Mary Louise Song | February 22, 2012 2:47 PMReply

    Mike S (would that be Mike S Ryan by any chance?? since he called the film racist before i'm assuming is you). Clearly you had your own agenda when watching a film like Beasts, this film is the most unique film to come out of Sundance since TAKE SHELTER or WINTER'S BONE, even though those films are way more conservative in style. The brilliant script and amazing visuals alone would blow anyone away. Quit being a sour man.

  • alan | February 22, 2012 1:54 PMReply

    mike,

    you really think black actors gave a performance that was racist? or, perhaps, they gave a naturalistic performance--playing themselves, really--and your lack of experience in the real world (or your progressivism) mistakes this as a "racist stereotype". how about you get back to WHITEY world? where rich white people dictate your morality?

    seriously. go fuck yourself. you and california.

    sincerely,
    a man who just so happens to be black.

  • Mike S. | February 22, 2012 11:47 AMReply

    Absolutely one of the most overrated films to premiere at Sundance this year. It's definitely an original vision, and it has its moments, but ultimately it feels patched together and the acting (especially the father and others) veers so much towards racist stereotypes that it baffles me this is being celebrated. Either way, it won't have the impact of Tree of Life, either culturally, or in its Box Office.

  • Barbara H | February 22, 2012 7:01 PM

    Mike, I don't know exactly where your bitterness comes from. You miss the point of the movie. It is about the end of the world: The overwhelming feeling that it is the end of the world when a parent dies; the end of the world as global warming wreaks its havoc; the end of the world in the Bayou as the water continues to rise. For example, there is a road out to Homa that is barely above the water. As for your racist stereotypes: Benh Zeitlin explained at the first premier, the fact that the main character and her father are black is merely because they were far and away the best who auditioned for the parts. Sincerely, Lucy Alibar's mother; and yes she is born and raised Southern

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