Director: Benh Zeitlin. Cast: Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry. 93 min. Rated PG-13. Drama/Fantasy.
Winter's Bone meets Pan's Labyrinth, in Louisiana. A little black girl, who by our "normal" living standards appears to inhabit another planet (the "Beasts" in the title probably referring to humans also), fights the daily insurmountable stress of a friendly/abusive father, a Katrina-like storm, and the concept of death, by using her childhood fantasy as a weapon. Quite a few images are still etched in my mind, most prominently an opening scene of the girl running towards us, flares in both hands. Dizzying performance by newcomer Quvenzhané Wallis may make her the youngest star ever to win an Oscar.