In movies the imaginary tends to be expensive, so independent live-action films generally work with what is already in place and steer clear of the realms of large-scale fantasy. Our dream worlds are elaborated for us by corporate entities with the necessary means. Beasts of the Southern Wild represents a kind of protest against this state of affairs, an assertion of the right to build one’s own make-believe world, with available tools however rudimentary, rather than submitting to the pre-imagined products of Disney, Marvel, Pixar, and the rest. It’s a film made cheaply, and I would imagine sometimes dangerously, with amateur actors and dwellings furnished with the detritus of floods and storms. It makes up its mythology analogously to the way a child might make up a history of the world, with the gaps and unexpected detours and lurching transitions intact.
— Geoffrey O’Brien, on Beasts of the Southern Wild.
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