A visit to the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans meant we discovered Court 13, a local artists' collective that made Beasts Of The Southern Wild, the Oscar-nominated film that is the subject of this post. The Center has an exhibition of reference material, original art and installations, and work-in-progress videos all about the film's creation. Having been fascinated by this, I made a mental note to look out for Beasts when we got back home and was delighted to see online that it is coming to Hailsham. However, disappointment soon followed as we realised we are already elsewhere for both screenings. Typical! Then, a few days later in Austin, we spotted the DVD for rental in the local grocers and watched it that evening!
Led by filmmaker Benh Zeitlin, Beasts Of The Southern Wild was filmed in the Louisiana town of Montegut, one of the isolated coastal fishing communities that inspired it. These communities are threatened in real-life by hurricanes, erosion and rising sea levels and it is a devastating hurricane that provides the main storyline of Beasts. As many residents flee the oncoming storm, single father Wink (Dwight Henry) and his young daughter Hushpuppy (Quvenzhane Wallis) choose to stay in their home. After the storm has passed by, they have lost almost everything. The community starts to rebuild their lives but are discovered by the authorities who force a mandatory evacuation order, despite the people themselves wishing to stay where they are.
We both enjoyed Beasts very much. Quvenzhane Wallis is astounding as Hushpuppy and the glimpse we get into the way these people live is certainly thought-provoking. The firework scene in particular is beautiful and the Aurochs provide a threatening presence. Do go to see Beasts if you can - I recommend it!
Hailsham Pavilion, Tue 9th and Thu 11th Apr 2013, 19:45.
Tickets £6.50, concessions £5, available online, by calling 01323 841414 or in person at the Box Office.
Barn Theatre, Seaford, Fri 3rd May, 19:30.
Tickets £6, members £5, children £3.50, available online, or in person at Seaford Tourist Office Office.
Also currently on show at the Contemporary Arts Center, and my favourite of all the works which is why it gets a special mention(!), is A Thousand Threads by Luba Zygarewicz. This installation consists of used teabags hung on thin strings in an oval at the bottom of a staircase. It makes for a beautiful, tranquil space as visitors are secluded from the rest of the Gallery to experience it. I'd love to see the work at the Towner but am not sure where they could hang it - perhaps the De La Warr staircase would be more appropriate.