Benh Zeitlin’s “Wendy” has become a rather peculiar cinematic mystery ever since production began on the film way back in March of 2017. Here we are, more than two years later, and it still hasn’t been released. We can speculate all we want about what exactly happened behind-the-scenes. I recently spoke to a person in-the-know about the film, they even went as far as to say that Zeitlin’s movie “has been in so much pain over the last couple of years” that it would be better for it to just simply come out and for everyone to move on.
A test screening of “Wendy” finally happened earlier this week. The response was fairly muted. It does seem like the magical realism of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” is again on full-display in “Wendy,” and the fact that they are now screening it is a promising sign that we will indeed be seeing Zeitlin’s movie this fall.
The plan seems to be to submit the film to the fall festivals, a bow at TIFF is all but assured at this point, but after “Beasts Of The Southern Wild” was hailed at Cannes, Sundance and the Oscars, this much-anticipated follow-up is destined to feel left out of the conversation quickly.
Discovering ‘Beasts’ at the Sundance Film Festival was one of the great cinematic moments for me this decade. The effortless vision Zeitlin showcased behind the camera felt touchingly authentic. Of course, I’ll be there, whenever“Wendy” premieres, I still believe in this movie’s potential, but what I’ve been hearing has been very discouraging.
The most complete description of the plot actually comes from Zeitlin himself in 2015:
"The new film is about a young girl who gets kidnapped onto a hidden ecosystem where a tribal war is raging over a form of pollen that breaks the relationship between aging and time," Zeitlin said at the time. "It follows a friendship-love story-adventure of her and a joyous, reckless, pleasure-mongering young boy as they swirl in and out of youth and as the ecosystem around them spirals toward destruction. We’re working on it all day every day, but as all psychotic adventures go, you know where your destination is but not how long it’s going to take to get there."