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Pathology porn or movies that seem to mine black people’s dysfunction are often quite popular – “Precious” is a prime example. That every Black person doesn’t have the same background or experiences is lost on people who those kinds of movies do resonate for. At first, “Beasts of the Southern Wild” seems like just another entry in the same ol’ pathology tale. It takes place in a mythical Gulf Coast community called “The Bathtub” which seems to be a stand-in for impoverished, isolated areas of the Mississippi Gulf Coast that were impacted by Hurricane Katrina. In the movie, the storm is used as a metaphor for the grinding poverty that threatens to engulf the community.

What makes “Beasts of the Southern Wild” a different take on poor black people is its lyrical nature and the poetry of the storytelling. Although it’s at times a regular narrative about a 5-year-old girl, Hushpuppy, and her father, Wink, who is struggling with a mysterious illness, it also tells the story in a fable-like fantasy way. Huge prehistoric creatures appear as stand-ins for the colossal odds the people who live in The Bathtub are faced with. The story moves along at a leisurely pace without the usual over-telling that some filmmakers employ when they think their audiences are too dumb to follow along. The movie was written and directed by first-time feature filmmaker Benh Zeitlin, a 29-year-old white man from Queens, N.Y. who formed a filmmaking collective in and around New Orleans. That collective, Court 13, and the community around Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana where the movie was shot, eventually helped shape “Beasts.”

Read more at Black America Web