Beauty and transience are linked in Japan. Think of cherry blossoms, and how they are celebrated in ritual gatherings, adored for their short lives as much as for their visual splendor. In Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo, a first film by Jessica Orent, the Japanese people show their love of insects through collecting. In the US if you go into a pet store, you see the cuddly puppies and cute kittens. In Japan, children yearn for the stag horn beetle in the square plastic box. Women go to pet supply stores in search of the best bedding for their insects, and the best insect snacks. At night, the hunters of the beetles are out with flashlights and special nets to capture the beetles who climb trees. Anyone in the beetle business seems to know just how to kick the base of the tree to dislodge the unsuspecting bugs. Overhead images of people swarming at intersection in the rain, their heads under colorful umbrellas, link our species to the insects. Constant voiceover relates how poetry, art, nature, and philosophy relate to the Japanese love of insects. Most of it is in Japanese, requiring the viewer to read the subtitles which takes our eyes off the images. This is a minor flaw, but it leaves the audience somewhat exhausted after watching.
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