Six-year-old Hushpuppy lives in cheerful squalor in a close-knit, alcohol- and seafood-fuelled community called the Bathtub, in the Louisiana bayou. A levee and a whole different world view separate these fringe-dwellers from ‘civilised’ society.
Hushpuppy’s father Wink provides basic care but withholds his affection in the hope of toughening her up, to prepare her for life without him: he’s dying. When, on top of that, a storm floods the Bathtub, it seems Hushpuppy’s way of life will change forever.
Seen through Hushpuppy’s eyes and punctuated by her fantasies of ancient threatening beasts, this dreamlike film is as unstructured as Hushpuppy’s life. But it hooks you in with its resonant portrayal of a ‘primitive’ society determined to survive in the face of powerful forces of conformity. 7/10
Released September 13, 2012.