The Reel Deal Film Series: Beasts of the Southern Wild(post your thoughts)

February 19, 2013 No Comments

Beasts of the Southern Wild was the focus of the Reel Deal Film Series on Sunday, March,3.

Diane Geiger, in the director’s chair, pointed out thematic similarites between this film and “Spirit of the Beehive” emphasizing the technical differences between the two films,which both addressed the impact of trauma on a young child.  How does the style of a film affect its purpose?  Is there a “better” way to make a film about a certain topic?  When does style (rapid action hand held camera versus calm steady deep focus) enhance or diminish the intent of a film?

Mary Adams, a child psychoanalyst, emphasized the film’s attempt to capture the point of view of a very young child attempting to deal with extreme trauma and make sense of the world.  She poignantly highlighted the struggles of Hushpuppy to find a way to exist in her world.  The intermingling of fantasy and reality as a normal developmental way of living in the world was emphasized.  Hushpuppie’s pseudo maturity was contrasted with clips from the film in which she hides under a cardboard box to protect herself from a raging fire(subtle reminder of the absolute necessity of parental presence).

Jacalyn Harden, a cultural anthropoligist, took great exception to the film.  She highlighted the film’s subtle racism: the sexualization of black women(Hushpuppy’s mother) and the pathologic portrayal of black fathers as troublesome generalizations. She shared observations from Margaret Mead and her own personal reactions as a black woman/mother to provide a different perspective.

The audience Q and A was thoughful and lively.  Another Reel Deal moment.  Jolyn Wagner


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