Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo (2009)

9 Jul

When you read the title of this movie the first thing you probably expect it to be is a monster movie comparable to Godzilla. In actuality it’s a documentary about insects in Japan. Although in most of the world insects are seen as a nuisance that must be eliminated as soon as possible, in Japan people actually love to keep crickets and beetles as pets.

A whole industry to support this hobby exists and it’s a big market for these companies. Conventions are held, kids can buy plastic versions of many different beetles, there are video games on them and when your pet bug eventually dies there are specialist shops that sell everything you need to sticks pins in it to make sure you can display it in the most beautiful way (and kids can learn how to do this in workshops).
Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo shows that a lot of money can be made by selling bugs. An owner of a shop is followed as he travels to the forests to capture his merchandise. The amount of money he makes with it is huge as it has allowed him to buy himself a Ferrari.

The documentary also tries to explain the origins of this Japanese pastime. It does this by showing out of focus and shaky images combined with zen like music and a voiceover who tells the viewer how the affinity with bugs came into existence and how it all relates to religion. Unfortunately it’s these pieces that felt out-of-place as they sounded too dreamy. Another way of telling these stories would have probably be more effective. The dreamy sequences and a lack of interviews results in a documentary doesn’t give enough insight into this Japanese hobby and things to grab onto as a viewer.

Score: 5

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