- Last Updated: 10:20 AM, May 12, 2010
- Posted: 1:39 AM, May 12, 2010
Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo
You can't tell a book by its cover, nor can you judge a movie by its title. "Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo" sounds like a "Godzilla"-type thriller -- but definitely isn't.
Rather, it is a contemplative documentary about Japan's age-old fascination with bugs. The director-writer-producer is an American, Jessica Oreck, a lifelong insect lover and an animal keeper at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan.
The beautifully filmed, seductively narrated proceedings open with a boy talking his father into buying a pet beetle for the equivalent of $57 -- for a few more yen they could have gotten Ringo Starr -- then flashes back two centuries to the first cricket sellers.
We learn that there are 180 species of crying insects in Japan, that kids love to play with bugs and that creepy-crawlers can be purchased live in stores and vending machines.
That news will leave New Yorkers feeling lucky. They don't have to buy insects -- the little pests come free with their apartments.
In Japanese with English subtitles. Running time: 90 minutes. Not rated (bugs, bugs, bugs). At Film Forum, Houston Street, west of Sixth Avenue.