As I’ve started to read about the Sundance film Beasts of the Southern Wild (check our review here), what keeps coming to mind is something like the early films of David Gordon Green filtered through the sensibility of author China Mieville. The film shows us the world through the eyes of a six-year old girl, but that world isn’t quite ‘real.’ It is the creation of director Benh Zeitlin. His landscape is based in part on a post-Katrina Louisiana landscape, but it also has many other elements, some realistic and some fantastic, woven into its fabric.

But rather than looking to some esoteric and possibly way off-base comparison to get an idea of what Beasts of the Southern Wild might be like, let’s look back to the 2008 short film from the same director. Glory at Sea is also by Zeitlin, and like his new feature the short is also set in a landscape that is at least influenced by the aftereffects of Hurricane Katrina. But this is no When the Levees Broke; rather it is a film that uses images that suggest a devastated Louisiana as part of a story about following faith and vision even in the aftermath of apocalypse.

Zeitlin breaks many rules of shooting low-budget indie films: he shoots with kids, and on the water, and with a couple of wild, homemade sets. Well, ‘sets’ is a loosely applicable term, but you’ll see what I mean. Glory at Sea is a pretty fantastic 25-minute short, and I highly recommend giving it a look. Read More »

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