Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo. 2009. Written and directed by Jessica Oreck. Produced by Jessica Oreck, Maiko Endo, and Akito Kawahara. Cinematography by Sean Price Williams. Edited by Jessica Oreck and Theo Angell. Music by JC Morrison and Nate Shaw. Additional music by Masami Tsuchiya, Haroumi Hosono, Mishio Ogawa, Logic System, and Paul Grimstad. Sound by Nate Shaw.
Jessica Oreck, currently an animal handler at the American Museum of Natural History, reinvents nature documentary with Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo, transforming what could have been an unbearably dry lecture with visual poetry that makes it a beautiful work of art. Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo is at Film Forum through May 18; Oreck will appear in person on May 14 at the 6:30 and 8:20 shows with live exotic insects. She will also be at the 4:40 show on Sunday, May 16 with Hugh Raffles, author of Insectopedia, available from Amazon.
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Update, May 17, 2011: Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo is now available on DVD, with three deleted scenes of interviews with philosopher Dr. Takeshi Yoro, whose insights greatly inform Oreck's documentary. To purchase, visit Factory 25's website. The film also has its TV premiere on PBS's Independent Lens tonight at 10pm. For more information and TV listings, visit the Independent Lens website.