Jessica Oreck’s unusual investigation into Japanese culture’s special affinity with insects had its World Premiere at SXSW 2009, with screenings at a number of fests including Full Frame, Cinevegas (Special Jury Award for Artistic Vision), and Jihlava. It had theatrical runs in NYC, LA, SF, Chicago, Seattle, and Denver among others. The doc also picked up a Spotlight Award at the 2010 Cinema Eye Honors.

Oreck looks to Japan’s past and present to explain the country’s entomomania in this lyrical detective story – from its first emperor who named the island Akitsushima (“Isle of the Dragonfly”) to professional insect hunters who can command huge prices. At the same time, one of the most intriguing aspects of the film is the parallel consideration that the rest of the world instead learned to respond to bugs with repulsion and fear. While the film arguably might tell audiences more about the Western fascination with Eastern culture than about Eastern culture itself, its crisscrossing through various aspects of Japanese history and society is intriguing and illuminating, offering viewers the opportunity to pay attention to how we see and interact with nature and its smallest details.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Releases

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