Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
North of the levee there's dry land and normal civilization. South of the levee, where six-year-old Hushpuppy and her father Wink live, is the Bathtub. The Bathtub is an alternate community in the swampy bayou. It's a wild world of ramshackle houses, no school, hard drinking trailer trash, and, by the way, celebration and care for each other. Little Hushpuppy tries to parse this world that is part dream and part nightmare for a little child. Her father's a violent drunk. She daydreams about her absent mother. A monster storm floods their world, but they resist mandatory evacuation. As in the movie Tree of Life, director Benh Zeitlin intersperses animated pre-historic beasts into this already ominous world. When Hushpuppy's father gets deathly sick, it's one more test for her to learn love and bravery in a scary world. "Y'all better learn how to survive," her school teacher told her class. This is Zeitlin's first film, and it's been nominated for four Oscars. Hushpuppy and her father were played by ordinary non-actors.