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Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo

4.2 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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(May 17, 2011)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo delves into the ineffable mystery of Japan's age-old love affair with insects. A labyrinthine meditation on nature, beauty, philosophy and Japanese culture that might just make you question if your 'instinctive' repulsion to bugs is merely a trick of western conditioning.

Review

"A doorway to something huge and eternal." --Time Out New York

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Directors: Jessica Oreck
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Factory 25
  • DVD Release Date: May 17, 2011
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004LBA05E
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #175,383 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Stop right there! If you're browsing "Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo" because it sounds like a terrific monster movie (and how can you not be enchanted by the title?), you may be surprised by this quietly effective documentary. Director Jessica Oreck serves up an intriguing and artful examination on the Japanese acceptance and fascination with insects. From beetles to dragonflies to crickets, Japanese culture embrace insects as a vital and beautiful part of the natural world. Through captivating visuals, historical vignettes, and even poetry--the film really explores this phenomenon and the symbiotic relationship between all species. It's smart and thoughtful and should easily appeal to nature lovers or people with a cultural interest in Japan. Beyond that, though, there is something quite spiritual in the film's tone.

Some of the more intriguing aspects of the film include how the insect world has developed into big business. People keeping insects as pets is very commonplace. I enjoyed a visit to a warehouse event (like a trade show almost) where hundreds of shoppers come to pick up bugs and bug cultivating supplies. Through brief segments, we see a few purveyors who have gotten rich from the retail aspects of this thriving enterprise. I was also amused by how many insect related video games seemed to be available--especially the one where giant beetles battled for dominance and victory.

It is more than entomology, although that plays a significant role. This is much more contemplative then you might presume. Bugs are beautiful creations--some people even keep crickets to enjoy their music! (Makes me feel guilty for having been mad when an annoying cricket has kept me awake at night with its incessant noise!
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My local natural history museum showed this film so I thought it would be filled with philosophical and scientific information. I loved the sections with haiku but the rest of the film seemed to be taken up with long footage of beetles trapped in jars and boxes being purchased for exorbitant prices.
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Documentary and poetry weave together the sense of what it feels like to be among those who embrace this culture. If you are looking for a history channel style documentary this isn't it. If you are looking for relief from the staleness and excess from your documentaries, this IS it. This is a rare sort of film, but not necessarily for a rare sort of film watcher. Try it, you might find yourself craving more films that break the mold such as this.
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I first saw this at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago in 09, great educational film, my 10 year old brothers loved it! Some of the bugs shown are ones that I as a western viewer would have never even thought existed. Beautifully done, a little bit like microcosmos.
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