What she does so persuasively—guided in part by a reverential camera that lingers on her close and quietly—is suffuse the screen with nobility. It is a nobility that, for some, anoints her a resilient universal hero. It is a quality that, for others, distracts from the obligation to attend to what singularly and specifically pains her. With her directing partner Benh Zeitlin, Alibar changed the setting to a Louisiana bayou and the star of the film became a six-year-old Black girl. Given this transposition, a recurring question in criticism of the film relates to what the presence of a Black girl does to the original story and stories of climate struggle more generally.
Thus, for some, the film is a galvanizing and enchanting story of posthuman climate resistance. While for others, it is a dangerously mythologizing story of all-too-human racial and economic inequality. Beasts is many films. It is an ecological fairy tale and a rising seas story. It is a tale of a multiracial community and precarious freedom.
It is a story of girlhood survival, and of what it means to come to terms with mortality, in the face of personal and planetary disasters. But if the Bathtub is a proxy for a world in crisis or a prophecy of the future that awaits all of us, the film is also a treatise. It offers a discernible creed.
It is the creed of abandoning oneself to the wildness of all things and all moments. In the world Zeitlin has created, survival is celebrated as a triumph but also as a conclusion. As viewers, we are left to wonder: is that it? What happens after?
How will she live, by careening from trauma to trauma? By being prepared for anything? How will we all live in a world with diminishing and uneven protections?
What vision of the future is on offer? We are not, after all, looking for stories of false amelioration. But it is the tone of triumphalism aided by a heroic soundtrack that confuses.
It is a tone that makes romance out of chronic survival. It is a tone of utopianism—fragile but persistent—that turns inner strength into a panacea and that champions the role of anarchic collectives in providing self-help for the marginalized and socially discarded. In the pages that follow, I wade into the various iterations of care and un-care offered in the film. I propose that ideas of resilience need to be responsive to longstanding histories of structural violence and neglect.
Expectations of grit and tenacity without a functional infrastructure of care however incomplete and impossible risk perpetuating abandonment and injustice. What is Black girlhood worth? Who has the right to protection? The problems that ultimately haunt the film, I suggest, are deeply connected to care dynamics, which are tied, in this instance, to a disavowal of Blackness and Black childhood. What Beasts captures are the limits of utopian projects that glorify the individual over the social and the mythic over the historical.
Absent the scaffolding of fantasy, I argue, the film presents a figuration of utopia that cannot offer or sustain Black care. For Sharpe, care involves attending to the needs of the dying but also the needs of the non-assimilable living. However, fraught and uncomfortable, Sharpe argues that we need care. Care emerges from the hope of yielding something more—more than survival, more than cruel optimism. Any posthuman future imagining requires that the call for care and the mattering of Black lives be taken seriously.
Five years after its release, Beasts continues to offer its viewers provocative ways of thinking through the present-day world in the context of climate change, neoliberalism, and racialized violence. It is the first image I remember, when someone mentions the film. A quietly epic moment, Hushpuppy is gripping a paper bag containing fried alligator for her dying father, facing down a herd of aurochs. A terrestrial and psychic standoff. She is ready to confront her beasts.
I have no music history or real theoretical training under my belt, so it's basically layman's terms for me. Skip to main content. No Film School. This may all sound a bit dark, but your movies actually have, not happy endings, in the sense that everyone lives happily ever after, but the audience does come away with an overwhelmingly positive feeling at the end of both the movies we've been talking about.
Several reviews of Beasts said that the audience at the premiere at Sundance was shocked or bewildered by seeing this movie. Why is it so surprising for smart, aesthetically rich independent movies to also aim to engage the full emotional register, to be meaningfully uplifting? I don't know. I don't understand why a lot of indie movies are made. I really don't. I feel like indie film is like minor league baseball a lot of the time.
It's not competing with major movies. It's its own niche. I don't want to shit on indie film, it's just that a lot of it is not any more sophisticated than big action movies. Action movies are a lot more interesting a lot of the time because they are engaged in myth and genre and culture.
You can track your culture through Hollywood, you can't track it through indie movies. I very much want to compete with big films and big stories. I don't know whether people will go see this movie or not, but that's my interest. I want my art to discuss big questions.
For some reason elite society doesn't want to think about that stuff a lot of the time. It's like my frustration with science, which is, OK, you're answering the most mundane questions about biology and nature and you're doing nothing for me as far as how to understand death, or Religion deals with these big questions, and it gives you an answer, and makes people feel all right about dying. It has the whole explanation of what happens and why you don't need to go insane.
And big films do too, but with usually pretty silly answers like, "be a man" or, "don't give up. Retrieved December 3, November 20, Chicago Tribune. July 5, Retrieved November 28, The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 29, The New York Post. Rolling Stone. June 26, Huffington Post. People Magazine.
Retrieved December 31, Online News Magazine. By Zack Mandell. June 30, Retrieved August 15, December 1, You must verify your account in order to post comments.
Please enter your email address and you'll receive a verification link to proceed. Portlandia Oh Brockmire Brockmire Season 2 Trailer. Watch More. Always on Slightly off. Nor can you figure out how the musicians learned to play the way they do, with such fire and mastery.
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