So far as we know, Japan is the only country in the world to have a long-running box-office megastar that's also the embodiment of its national femininity and a giant flying insect to boot. (That would be Mothra.) Toho Studios' second most popular kaiju eiga is nowhere to be found in Oreck's lush and lovely dreamlike documentary, but her benevolent spirit flitters throughout, graceful yet alien, exactly like the entomologically obsessed citizenry of the Japanese archipelago. Oreck, who traveled to Japan with boyfriend/cinematographer Sean Williams, has made a splendid, enthralling, and fascinating documentary that examines and explains Japanese culture's centuries-old reverence for its tiny, chitinous brethren. From insect fairs to the ancient tradition of keeping crickets as household pets, Beetle Queen is a striking micromasterpiece; it's as though Sofia Coppola had scrapped Lost in Translation midway through to focus instead on elephant beetles and the children who love them, and the resulting film is utterly, wonderfully unique.
Saturday, March 21, 3pm, Alamo Ritz
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