9 February 2013 4:06 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Beasts of the Southern Wild; Ruby Sparks; Room 237; Untouchable; Chained; Pusher

A quasi-apocalyptic fable filmed amid the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, Benh Zeitlin's extraordinary Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012, StudioCanal, 12) follows the changing fortunes of a vibrant young girl and her sickly father as they face an uncertain future in the fictional bayou community of the Bathtub. Based on Lucy Alibar's play Juicy and Delicious, Zeitlin's unexpected awards contender boasts rising waters, mythical creatures and superbly believable characters. As Hushpuppy, Quvenzhané Wallis is the youngest nominee to compete in Oscar's best actress category, while Dwight Henry had to be dragged away from his day job running a local bakery to star in the movie; both are mesmerising. The decision to shoot on 16mm rather than digital pays splendid visual dividends, lending richly colourful texture to the proceedings as they slip effortlessly between grainy realism and fantasy. A »

- Mark Kermode

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