This raw, earthy, extremely low-budget indie is one of the most original films you'll see all year. The astonishing, 6-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis is our star and narrator, Hushpuppy--a fierce, mud-caked wild child living in a flooded backwater bayou with her troubled father. This wildly imaginative modern fantasy would have us believe that the polar ice caps have melted, pushing back the coastline and stranding hundreds of poor, rural southerners on the wrong side of a massive levee system. Unwilling to relocate to dry land, our scrappy survivors try to tough out this environmental disaster--Cajun-style. The film's visual and aural poetry occasionally gets pretentious and the heavily metaphorical narrative doesn't always pay off. But the acting is astonishing and the cinematography looks like some gloriously rotting impressionist painting. 91 minutes PG-13.