Excerpts from a review in Roger Ebert's Journal at the Chicago Sun-Times:
If there is one 2012 movie that seems to have a lock on a best picture nomination, it is "Beasts of the Southern Wild." And if there is a single reason its early viewers have loved it so much, it is an 8-year-old girl named Quvenzhané Wallis, who was six when she filmed it. Here is a case of a great role finding the perfect actress to play it.Ebert's video interview with the young lady is at his column (8 minutes), where I also found the trailer for the movie -
"My computer has trouble pronouncing names," I told Quvenzhané not long ago in my living room.
"That's okay," she said. We worked together on a phonetic spelling: kwa van je nay. A beautiful name for this composed young woman, who deserves her own Oscar nomination, and whose nickname is Nazie.
The film is the feature debut of Benh Zeitlin, whose first short subject was made in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It's set in The Bathtub, an isolated island area offshore from New Orleans, where the poorest of the poor scramble to survive. Shanties perch on stilts in the delta marshlands. A boat is made from the bed of a pickup truck. The world of prosperity could be on a distant planet. We focus on a girl named Hushpuppy, whose mother has disappeared, whose father is loving but sometimes harsh, and whose determination is indomitable. The feeling is post-apocalyptic, and there are rumors of another storm on the way, one that will flood the islands and their people.
"Beasts" opens on July 6, but is already famous in film circles. At Sundance 2012, it won the Grand Jury Prize. At Cannes, it won the Camera d'Or as best first film. At both, the small girl from Louisiana won hearts with her spunky, straightforward manner in the face of calamity.
- and this comment: "Anybody calls for Quvenzhané, I know they're calling me, cause that's one of a kind."