Directed by: Jessica Oreck
Written by: Jessica Oreck
Produced by: Jessica Oreck (Myriapod Productions)
Run Time: 90 Min
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
For thousands of years, mankind has been examining nature as a way to learn more about our self, our purpose and our destiny. The idea that everything in the world is somehow connected has inspired generations of Japanese philosophers, rulers and religious figures who look for answers in their quest to for the universal truths of mankind’s existence by looking at some of the smallest creatures on the planet: insects. The Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo, even though it sounds like a B-Movie, examines Japanese culture and their fascination with insects, from the roles that these strange creatures have played in their ancient philosophies, to becoming modern day pets or collectors items.
The documentary primarily follows a bug catcher and several children, combining them with spectacular photography of Japan’s natural beauty as it tells the story of the insects influence throughout history. At the same time, the movie isn’t just about bugs or all of the deep philosophies passed down through the ages; it’s also about instilling the same sense of wonder and appreciation of nature that we all felt the first time we stumbled across a giant beetle on a hike or in our backyard. Even the tone of the movie is everything you’d expect out of eastern philosophy writings where calmness and being connected to the world around you almost makes the viewer forget the westernized world we live in.
The movie would be perfect except for that it might be difficult for some young children get into because they wouldn’t be able to read all of the subtitles. Luckily this flaw will be solved soon with the educational version of the film due to be released in the late summer complete with an English script. The $365 price tag of the educational version will however make it unobtainable for most people and is geared towards schools. Hopefully a more consumer friendly version of the film makes its way out so a younger audience or just those people who hate subtitles can enjoy it along with everyone else.
What else can I say besides I love this documentary? I know that not everybody likes bugs but I can’t picture a single person (even those squeamish people that hate spiders) who wouldn’t think some of the insects in this movie aren’t interesting. This movie is an awesome watch for anyone curious about exploring other cultures but I liked it for a completely different reason; it made me forget all of those things I don’t want to deal with in my everyday life. After a long day at work or just a day of watching the news, who wouldn’t want to leave all of that behind and go to a simpler place and escape for an hour or two? Now that I think about it, after watching this movie, I want to go outside with a net and see what kinds of weird bugs I can find. I hear you can make a good living selling them In Japan