If Spirit of the Beehive took place in Napoleon Dynamite country, it might turn out like David Zellner's absurd and wrenching coming-of-age tale. Newcomer Sydney Aguirre puts in a revelatory performance as 10-year-old Annie, a possibly sociopathic hoyden living at an isolated farm whose pranks range from the cute, such as covering her hungover, half-wit dad Marvin (Zellner's brother Nathan) with price stickers, to the criminal, as in forcing a car off the highway by pelting it with Pillsbury Poppin' Fresh dough. And some are just weird, like shooting a fly-blown cow carcass with a paintball gun. In short, she shares the filmmaker's oblique sense of humor, but with a mirthless, sadistic edge. When she comes across something strange in the woods, however, Annie discovers the potential for empathy — or genuine malevolence. Zellner, whose heartbreaking Goliath screened in the 2009 IFFB, finds similar pathos here.
IFFB 2012 | 83 MINUTES | APRIL 26 @ 9:15 PM + APRIL 28 @ 4:30 PM | SOMERVILLE THEATRE