We used Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs—baby pigs. There’s lots to love about this metaphysical flick and its magnetic 6-year-old heroine, Hushpuppy. What Hushpuppy sees as coming to destroy her is literally what a caveman painted. We extrapolated the mythology through her logic. First you get the pig to stand on a treadmill. So we were factually inaccurate on multiple levels. Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas, providing more than 14,000 grants for work across all seven continents, reaching 3 million students each year through education offerings, and engaging audiences around the globe through signature experiences, stories and content. The aurochs, wild ancestor of the domestic cattle of our day, is a fascinating creature. I hate you! With the pigs in general, we set up a system of positive reinforcement. All rights reserved. Those pigs are smart enough that you can make a social contract with them. It was an amazing space, with a huge backyard. And their skins are the only thing that looked realistic when the light hit it. BeastsOfThe Southern Wild. Suddenly, nature races, the temperature rises, the glaciers melt, releasing an army of aurochs. How did you choose aurochs—an extinct but real animal—to be the mythic creatures in your movie? And then I would explain that back to her. And we must have gone through 40 versions of costume design, trying to figure it out. Before filming Beasts of the Southern Wild, the acclaimed Sundance hit now making its way through theaters nationwide, director Benh Zeitlin … People say, “Twenty years ago, that was a field. Prior to joining, The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. In the movie, aurochs are encased in Ice Age glaciers, then set free by the same storm that floods the protagonists’ Louisiana home. BZ: I think [the aurochs’ meaning] evolves over the course of the film. Actual aurochs were basically cows. Then this one guy helping on the set suggested we just use nutria skins. So we realized it would be really great if we could get them to run full gait on a treadmill. We put a foam, bison-like hump under the nutria skins, to throw off the shape. So we found that if we got them running really fast, we got this horse-like motion. And you can’t really tell a pig, “I need you to walk with this emotion right now. BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD Featurette: "Aurochs" - YouTube As soon as we put [the nutria skins on the pigs] we realized, “Oh, of course. Then what? What do aurochs represent or symbolize in Beasts of the Southern Wild? It’s won every prize from Sundance to Cannes. “They are a little below the elephant in size,” wrote Julius Caesar, “and of the appearance, color, and shape of a bull. The website's critical consensus reads: "Beasts of the Southern Wild is a fantastical, emotionally powerful journey and a strong case of filmmaking that values imagination over money." Beasts of the Southern Wild Photos. Privacy Notice |  Sustainability Policy |  Terms of Service |  Code of Ethics, Jeremy Berlin is a generalist, writing about everything from virtual dolphins and actual walruses to African soccer, Sicilian mummies, and Chinese mathematics. Now I have to take a bridge to get there.” What the film does—and what the aurochs do in their transition out of the ice—is take that already accelerated process and accelerate it even more. And she sees herself as being in the same position as cavemen: We look back on them and understand them by their paintings. © 1996 - 2019 National Geographic Society. We were importing different kinds of fabric—we must have tried every single kind. He’s retired to a very good life. Üdvözlünk titeket a Teknőben, magyarok! There is a natural point at which organisms in nature show weakness and allow for each other to exist—the same way she learns from her friends in The Bathtub [the fictional Louisiana community where Hushpuppy and her father live] to take care of each other. Directed by Benh Zeitlin.Written by Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin, based on Alibar's one-act play Juicy and Delicious. And our film plays best as a myth. Benh Zeitlin’s debut feature film Beasts of the Southern Wild is nothing if not original. What might it mean at the end, when Hushpuppy stands up to a whole herd? He was named after one of the props people on the film. To learn more, visit. In the last sequence, we were shooting them on green screen, to composite into the stuff that we shot on location. Beasts of the Southern Wild Critics Consensus. Now it’s not. There were times where the cinematographer would be like, “Can you just get the pig to look down about two inches? Üdvözlünk titeket a Teknőben, magyarok! They just sort of haunt the yard, these two monstrous animals. Why the shift from bovine to porcine? How did you do it? So it’s not just about your own survival. We went to great lengths to really represent Hushpuppy’s reality. Low angles and slow motion, mostly. In Hushpuppy’s world, her dad dying and the storm coming means the world is falling apart. Well, there’s another pot-bellied pig in the film, a full-grown one. And it knows, “OK, if I stand on this thing I’ll get fed.” Then you slowly start moving the treadmill so that they walk. BZ: Yes, absolutely. People tend to think, “Well, that storm is definitely [Hurricane] Katrina.” Or, “That’s definitely a place that exists in Louisiana.” I think in this case the aurochs are a descriptor of an extinct species that could come back to life. I'm especially taken with the aurochs. You don’t need to know about aurochs to enjoy the new movie, but here’s a brief primer: Aurochs were massive horned beasts that lived in what’s now Eurasia, India, and North Africa. All rights reserved. With temperatures soaring and the icecaps melting, Hushpuppy and the Bathtube community soon come to face to face with the very real possibility of leaving their beloved home and confront a race of prehistoric beasts called aurochs to take back … He was a very intelligent, very capable pig. Exclusive: The Secret of the Aurochs (Those “Beasts of the Southern Wild”) In Beasts of the Southern Wild, real-world villains (terminal illness, indifferent authorities) and folkloric foes (an apocalyptic storm, a rampaging herd of mytho-prehistoric creatures) prove no match for a brave young girl, her dying father, and a ragtag bunch of bayou dwellers. They found different people in New Orleans who keep them as pets. The amount of dialogue we had with them, what we needed them to do, was pretty amazing. So Oliver—where is he now, and how old is he? So it’s that parallel that inspired us to use the aurochs. Watch the aurochs in action in the making-of featurette at iTunes Trailers. Plus it made sense in the way that the entire film is sort of made from salvaged pieces of regional things. Because the pigs were always rooting around and charging everything. Pop Omnivore spoke with director Benh Zeitlin and co-producer Michael Gottwald about the myths and movie magic in their new award-winning film, Beasts of the Southern Wild. But once we began gaming it out, we realized that getting baby ones [would be better]. Hushpuppy’s father is … I need you to pretend that you’re having difficulty.”. They don’t live in the Bathtub, not anymore. The aurochs recognize her as a similarly ferocious beast. BZ: The way we developed that stuff was very unscientific, very literalist—in the ways you understand how matter works when you’re a young kid. And so they give way. And it became clear that if you shot it from the right angle and slowed it down, they would look big enough. So we built [the wasteland set] on a 45-degree angle with a painted backdrop, and hole cut in it for the sun to come in. So he had to sleep in the bed between me and my girlfriend. So I would explain something about, say, particle physics to her, and she would explain it back to me as well as she understood it. Beasts of the Southern Wild is a 2012 movie directed by Benh Zeitlin. But those pigs would do about two minutes before they would get confused about what was happening. The aurochs … MG: We are not scared of using wild animals in our features. Since our first public screening at the Sundance Film Festival back in January 2012, Beasts of the Southern Wild has screened in every continent on the planet with the exception of Antarctica.We've had the pleasure of working with international distributors whose enthusiasm for Beasts we are forever grateful for. You directed all the aurochs sequences in the film, correct? But for the shots that are a little wider, we set up a 30-foot table and had the camera super low to get the angle to make them look bigger. How did the moviemakers “create” these menacing beasts? And yes, Juicy and Delicious has aurochs, described as “big, scary, extinct bulls, as seen in cave paintings at Lascaux.” The basic plot of Beasts of the Southern Wild comes directly from Juicy and Delicious: a motherless kid named Hushpuppy lives with his father in the rural South. TexasBushwhacker: Nov 29 #1: I love this movie. Pop Omnivore spoke with director Benh Zeitlin and co-producer Michael Gottwald about the myths and movie magic in their new award-winning film, Beasts of the Southern Wild. The coolest thing about it was figuring out how to design the horns to look like they’re part of the skull. Benh Zeitlin: They came from cave paintings I’d seen—Lascaux, Pech Merle, and a bunch of caves around there. There was no attempt, ever, to accurately portray them. The aurochs (/ ˈ ɔː r ɒ k s / or / ˈ aʊ r ɒ k s /; pl. But Oliver is the one I really miss. Great beasts like mammoths. So we sort of played this game of telephone until the science got really surreal and basic—the way a kid might understand it. Temperatures rise, the ice caps melt and fearsome prehistoric beasts called aurochs run loose. Or we’d have to invent a new mythology with a new word, so we’d be using actual aurochs to “play” a new species that we’d created. There’s no way you can trick or bully or force an animal to do anything it doesn’t want to. It is the ancestor of domestic cattle. Were there aurochs in the stage version? The biggest issue with the pigs is that their normal gait is very prim—they have this dainty little walk that they do, which gives away their scale really easily. Dwight Henry was born on February 19, 1963 in Nashville, Tennessee, USA as Dwight David Henry. My unit was in New Orleans. It’s about allowing each other to go on. She had these two gigantic Vietnamese potbellied pigs in her yard. We took over a 1916 firehouse in the Marigny neighborhood that hadn’t been used since [Hurricane Katrina]. And when you die Imma eat birthday cake on your grave! Beasts of the Southern Wild (Original post) mia: Nov 29: OP: The young actress that plays Hushpuppy. How did you make them look like fearsome beasts? aurochs, or rarely aurochsen, aurochses) (Bos primigenius), also known as urus or ure, is an extinct species of large wild cattle that inhabited Asia, Europe, and North Africa. blm: Nov 29 #4: Great movie. We wanted [to convey] that they’d reached this point where they’re straggling and having trouble moving forward. Beasts of the Southern Wild Quotes. — Jeremy Berlin, National Geographic Headquarters 1145 17th Street NW Washington, DC 20036, National Geographic Society is a 501 (c)(3) organization. You can’t get a good performance out of them. Product Description Beasts Of The Southern Wild, 1 DVD, 89 minutes Synopsis Six-year-old Hushpuppy lives in the bayou with his father. He is an actor and producer, known for Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012), 12 Years a … We did some early tests where we went out to a farm and did some shots of the pigs there. Quvenzhané Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild. Ferocious temperaments. Why is BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD called BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD? The aurochs will wake up and be hungry. They’d run into us, and we’d be like, “Ow! He’s about two years old now. “How are people going to look back on my civilization?” she wonders. Louisiana is in the most precarious place in terms of sea-level rise. If an animal is unhappy, it will refuse to do what you want it to do. In your film they were pigs. In a small bayou community in southern Louisiana called the “Bathtub”, lives six-year-old Hushpuppy and her tough-loving father, Wink. When we first got him, he was so young he couldn’t generate his own body heat. And when they get confused or they get scared, all they do is lie down and curl up into a little ball. Well, there are more meaningful, philosophical answers to that question, but one aspect is definitely the fact that the movie feature gigantic, prehistoric animals named the Aurochs. It is the ancestor of domestic cattle. In Beasts of the Southern Wild, real-world villains (terminal illness, indifferent authorities) and folkloric foes (an apocalyptic storm, a rampaging herd of mytho-prehistoric creatures) prove no match for a brave young girl, her dying father, and a ragtag bunch of bayou dwellers. We had a very emotional bond, me and that pig. Beasts of the Southern Wild is a fantastical, emotionally powerful journey and a strong case of filmmaking that values imagination over money. Though herbivorous, they were hunted as game and mythologized for their stature and power. At the beginning, Hushpuppy’s relationship with nature is that she’s a morsel of food that’s going to be consumed by a larger force. Beasts Of The Southern Wild: The Story (Featurette) Some image caption 1 Beasts of the Southern Wild: Aurochs (UK Featurette) Some image caption 1 Beasts of the Southern Wild: Court 13 (UK Featurette) Some image caption 1 How big were the pigs? It follows the story of six-year-old Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) who lives with her father in a place called “the Bathtub”, a southern community on the edge of the world, blocked off from civilization by a huge levee. Even the people in The Bathtub will have no chance. But both creatures are these wise, honorable animals that understand at the end of the film that the greatest sin you can commit is to kill an animal on the verge of extinction—to kill the last of a kind. What did you offer the pigs? Why is BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD called BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD? Hushpuppy, an intrepid six-year-old girl, lives with her father, Wink, in the Bathtub, a southern Delta community at the edge of the world. When Wink contracts a mysterious illness, nature flies out of whack, temperatures rise, and the ice caps melt, unleashing an army of prehistoric creatures called … A furious Hushpuppy punches Daddy in the chest, and he falls down, shaking, gasping. He was a little bit older than the other ones [when filming started]—about four months old. In the movie, the aurochs look enormous. Free Daily Quotes. The film was designated a 2012 "Critics' Pick" by the reviewers of The New Yor… With the horns, well, safety was the No. Tell me a bit about this. There were five of them. Hushpuppy: I hate you! That violent relationship is the way she begins her understanding of nature. By the end [of our shoot, these pigs] could hit marks. We spent five months training the pigs and trying to figure out the costumes. So she might understand that the Ice Age froze all these creatures and they “died.” But if that gets reversed, then the Ice Age unhappens—death unhappens—and these creatures come back to life. But they were little, little things. At the very outset, we knew that the only two options were dogs and pigs, because those are the only two animals smart enough. Beasts of the Southern Wild was based on a play by Lucy Alibar, who also collaborated on the screenplay. And one way she would understand death is if something freezes, it becomes still; when it thaws, it goes back to the way it was. He does most of the heavy lifting, acting wise. His name is Oliver. Yeah, they’re swamp rodents that are very specific to the location [in southern Louisiana] where we were filming. In our movie, the equivalent of an animal appearing on a cave wall is the tattoo on her thigh. National Geographic Headquarters 1145 17th Street NW Washington, DC 20036, National Geographic Society is a 501 (c)(3) organization. If you want them to go down a specific path, they need to be on your side. Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012, Zeitlin, USA) Component 1: Varieties of Film & Film-Making (AL) Component 1: American Film (AS) Core Study Areas: Key Elements of Film Form Meaning & Response The Contexts of Film Specialist Study Area: Spectatorship Ideology (AL) Rationale for study • Critical Acclaim: The film won the Grand In one of the critical encounters in Hushpuppy's valiant evolution into a victorious personality, she must confront in her mind's eye the beasts of the southern wild — the prehistoric aurochs. The only way she understands death is a big thing eating a smaller thing—the food chain. We weren’t trying to be scientific. Beasts of the Southern Wild ( 2,404 ) IMDb 7.3 1 h 33 min 2012 X-Ray 16+ In a forgotten but defiant bayou community cut off from the rest of the world by a sprawling levee, a six-year-old girl exists on the brink of orphanhood. Michael Gottwald: Benh’s always been interested in the cave paintings at Lascaux. But like anything with this film, you won’t get very far if you interpret the film literally. It’s called Beasts of the Southern Wild. The aurochs (/ ˈ ɔː r ɒ k s / or / ˈ aʊ r ɒ k s /; pl. And we really trained them, especially Oliver. The film emerges from Hushpuppy’s view. Beasts of the Southern Wild isn’t long on story structure, character motivation, or pacing–it has a tendency to lurch from one emotional high … And the initial plan was to use pigs that size. So he was looking for some sort of frame of reference for the film being its own myth: an animal—a bygone large mammal—that had been prominent earlier but had gone extinct, yet could cause destruction. In some of the footage we have, the horns would bend every time the pigs ran into something. What is the contract? Darwin says the strong survive, so they are Darwin’s beasts. Were there aurochs in the stage version? That’s what it needs to be.” What about the horns and other things you used to make them look more like aurochs, more monstrous? Oh, my God that hurts!”. Plus we thought aurochs would make a great tattoo! I thought the way Hushpuppy would understand the sea rising is if an ice cube melts, the water will rise. Because you really can’t have any wobble. It was chaotic, but good for the wide shots—those shots had a lot of energy. How did you choose aurochs—an extinct but real animal—to be the mythic creatures in your movie? MG: Obviously aurochs are more like cattle than the animals in the film. The rest of the crew was down in the bayou, shooting the live-action stuff. Beasts of the Southern Wild is a 2012 American drama film directed, co-written, and co-scored by Benh Zeitlin.It was adapted by Zeitlin and Lucy Alibar from Alibar's one-act play Juicy and Delicious.It stars Quvenzhané Wallis and Dwight Henry.After playing at film festivals, it was released on June 27, 2012, in New York and Los Angeles, and later distribution was expanded. With Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry, Levy Easterly, Lowell Landes. In a forgotten but defiant bayou community cut off from the rest of the world by a sprawling levee, a six-year-old girl exists on the brink of orphanhood. Tell me about that. Wink's tough love prepares her for the unraveling of the universe; for a time when he's no longer there to protect her. The first time we put wooden horns on one of the pigs, we realized we’d just handed a switchblade to a toddler. Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas, providing more than 14,000 grants for work across all seven continents, reaching 3 million students each year through education offerings, and engaging audiences around the globe through signature experiences, stories and content. And something does break. Also, I think aurochs didn’t really get frozen in icebergs [as they did in the movie], right? In the film, there are certain scenes when they’re running really, really fast, and we did these super close-ups of them running. (Hint: It’s cuter than you think.). When you’re a kid of that age, there’s no separation between reality and fantasy. They’re so big they’re practically unable to move. But when the pigs were walking up the ramps we’d built, so they could get up on that 30-foot table by themselves, we saw them walking with the motion we wanted. And it was like, “Can you get a pig to run on a treadmill?” It turns out you can. The species survived in Europe until 1627, when the last recorded aurochs died in the Jaktorów Forest, Poland. If the DNA breeding program, Project TaurOs, succeeds and aurochs can be genetically re-created, would you use the real thing in another film? I developed a really intense bond with him. That’s where we had the pigs, where they were being trained on the treadmill and stuff. They were very strong, even though they were less than a foot long, tail to snout. A couple of years ago National Geographic magazine ran a short piece about these extinct creatures and a novel DNA breeding program aimed at bringing them back to life, Jurassic Park style. It’s obvious: nutria! And I had a team of eight to 11 engineers and special-effects people working indoors, building the miniatures and stuff. In terms of facing the herd, I think that’s her recognizing the harmony that she’s always talked about in nature. MG: If nothing else, the film is a new way of rendering a story from a child’s perspective. Subscribe Faced with both her hot-tempered father's fading health and melting ice-caps that flood her ramshackle bayou community and unleash ancient aurochs, six-year-old Hushpuppy must learn the ways of courage and love. But I would think that if we found actual aurochs and filmed them, we’d portray them as being ten times more ferocious than they actually are. Did you set up a separate soundstage to film them? They were ancestors of modern cattle, and were depicted in cave paintings. Filling similar cinematic space as 2011's "Tree of Life," the film is both a straight ahead tale of life and survival and a nearly poetic, theme-rich think-piece. He was like a small burrito—a home-schooled, supersmart, talented little guy. Big tusks. Since the 1920s there have been several genetic experiments to try to “recreate” the aurochs by selectively crossbreeding specimens of cattle that preserve much of its … Since our first public screening at the Sundance Film Festival back in January 2012, Beasts of the Southern Wild has screened in every continent on the planet with the exception of Antarctica.We've had the pleasure of working with international distributors whose enthusiasm for Beasts we are forever grateful for. Aurochs were actually ancestors of modern cattle. She was the one who brought the aurochs into this story, and I wanted to see where her sensibility came from. BZ: Definitely! But it’s a process. Chin music: Nov 29 #3: Great movie. 1 concern at all times. The horns we wound up using were really soft, like cast latex. I’m always up for taking on nature in the name of cinema. As she says in a voiceover, “Everything has to fit together just right. They’re rodents, right? Directed by Benh Zeitlin. Their strength and speed are extraordinary; they spare neither man nor wild beast which they have espied.” Hunting, disease, climate changes, and habitat loss caused aurochs to go extinct in 1627, when the last individual died in Poland’s Jaktorów Forest. The young girl in the film, Hushpuppy, sees herself as the last of her kind, on the verge of extinction. I have no idea what they weighed. And you really had to have the pig hit the right spot and look in the right direction. July 27, 2012 Team Beasts " This here is an aurochs — a fierce, mean creature that walked the face of the earth back when we all lived in the caves..." In Behind The Scenes , Blog Tags Aurochs , Behind The Scenes , Special Effects , Video Everything is its own being. —If you’d like more info on the film, we spoke to director Benh Zeitlin and co-producer Michael Gottwald, who talked about what the aurochs mean to them and about the movie in general. Prior to joining, The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. Meet the Aurochs July 27, 2012Team Beasts "This here is an aurochs — a fierce, mean creature that walked the face of the earth back when we all lived in the caves..." InBehind The Scenes, BlogTagsAurochs, Behind The Scenes, Special Effects, Video Now could you move him two inches to the right?” And everyone sort of forgot how crazy it was that we had the luxury to do that. We had to design a way to attach tusks and horns to a pig’s head without hurting the pig. Well, there are more meaningful, philosophical answers to that question, but one aspect is definitely the fact that the movie feature gigantic, prehistoric animals named the Aurochs. The species survived in Europe until 1627, when the last recorded aurochs died in the Jaktorów Forest, Poland. 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