Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo
In Japanese with subtitles. This delightful and illuminating documentary focuses the Japanese’s fascination with insects ranging from beetles to butterflies to crickets and dragonflies. Most people here in the Western part of the world either have an aversion toward insects or remain disinterested in them. In Japan, though, insects are a central part of the culture not only in everyday modern life but in the throughout history and literature as well. A young Japanese boy arrives at a Tokyo store that sells pet beetles and hopes that he can afford to buy one given that some of the cheaper ones cost $57 while others cost as much as $90,000. The popular videogame MushiKing: King of the Beetles has cards for many species of beetles and players battle each other with the cards. An elderly man describes how he became intrigued by the sounds of crickets during his childhood. To this very day, he keeps crickets as his pets and allows others to experience the joy of their sounds as they gather around him. In another segment of the footage, a father and his children go into the forest at night to collect beetles by tapping on trees. Director Jessica Oreck fills the documentary with breathtaking images that speak for themselves, such as a giant light set up in a field to attract a variety of insects. The interviews with the insect-lovers show their genuine passion of and appreciation for not only insects, but nature in general, because, after all, it’s ideal for mankind to live in harmony with nature. As one wise insect-lover says in an insightful interview, one can learn a lot by observing insects and even change innately through that experience. Oreck also traces the roots of the Japanese’s fascination with insects which traces all the way back to the fabled Emperor Jimmu who named Japan the “Isle of Dragonflies.” By the end of the documentary, you can be sure that you’ll never look at an insect the same way ever again. Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo manages to be an illuminating, delightful, breathtaking and captivating documentary for all ages.