One of the most acclaimed films of 2012, Beasts of the Southern Wild is the award-winning feature debut of writer-director-composer Benh Zeitlin. Combining impressively chaotic realism—characters, activity, and wildly inventive production design spill out of the frame—with fantastical special effects, Zeitlin creates one of the most vivid and unusual worlds of any filmmaker this year. It’s a Katrina-inspired fairy tale about the struggles to maintain community in the face of poverty and industrialization.
While the film’s distinctive, self-indulgent approach doesn’t always resonate, there’s no question that Beasts of the Southern Wild has some of the year’s most striking and transcendent cinematic flourishes, beginning with an intriguing opening—that feels more like a climax. The film’s greatest virtue is seven-year-old star Quvenzhané Wallis, who gives an unforgettable performance, playing a resilient child caught somewhere between fantasy and an exceedingly grimy reality.
Following a surprisingly successful theatrical run this summer—made for under $2 million, the film grossed an impressive $11 million—Beasts of the Southern Wild arrives on home video in a Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack. The film’s grainy, documentary-inspired approach (Zeitlin has cited Les Blank as a major inspiration), comes through vividly in this HD transfer. Extras include a 22-minute making of, Zeitlin’s 25-minute short Glory at Sea, deleted scenes with commentary, and audition footage.