Saturday, April 10, 2010

"Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo" sets out to conquer theatres with Japan's insect mania

by Chris MaGee

You'd be forgiven if you thought that Jessica Oreck's debut film was one of the many "extreme" films like "Tokyo Gore Police" and "Mutant Girls Squad" that have gained such a high profile of late. I mean, with a title like "Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo" how could you not? So, yes, you8'd be forgiven, but you'd be very, very wrong. Oreck, whose day job is working as an animal keeper and docent at the American Museum of Natural History, has crafted a documentary that highlights Japan's fascination with insects of all sizes and varieties. From a present day auction where a rare beetle sells for a record $90,000 US all thw way back to Japan's mythic first Emperor Jimmu who dubbed his island nation as the "Isle of the Dragonflies", "Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo" looks to be a fascinating journey through both social and natural history, a journey that Oreck hopes will "inspire a new sense of wonder – a small sense of wonder – one that does not overwhelm, but acts, like some gentle war of attrition, to slowly but substantially coax us into rethinking how we live our lives."

It seems that the past few years have seen a Renaissance of documentary filmmaking both in Japan and about Japan and "Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo" fits nicely into this new wave. Check out the trailer below and then make sure to visit the film's official website and this site which is petitioning to get "Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo" a wider theatrical release.

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