A boy on the northern island of Hokkaido, Japan catches a butterfly from Nagasaki, at the southern end of the archipelago. His teachers think he bought the insect in a department store and lecture him on his fraud. Meanwhile, a larva of that same butterfly embarks on an often comic and always improbable journey from South to North. On that journey the larva appears (on the screen and, it seems, in the person of model/actress Kaga Mariko) juxtaposed with a series of failed love affairs, traumatic war memories, disrupted smuggling operations, and corrupt political plots. The film ends where it begins, in Hokkaido with another butterfly caught in the boy’s net. —japansociety.org
Born in 1930 in Matsuzaka, Mie Prefecture. Joined Iwanami Productions in 1954 as an assistant director, soon becoming a director from 1957 of many documentaries including Hokkaido, My Love (screened at YIDFF ’93). Started his independent career in 1962. Made his first feature, Silence Has No Wings in 1965. Regarded as one of the most prominent filmmakers of the Art Theater Guild in the 1970s, with such masterpieces as The Assassination of Ryoma (1974) and Warming Up for the Festival (1975) earning critical acclaim. After Roningai (1990), Kuroki returned to critical acclaim with his new film Pickpocket in 2000. Currently making his next film, Kirishima 1945. —YIDFF
Exquisite and enigmatic, retracing the transitory migration of insects into the heart of national trauma, social metamorphosis, and Japan's splintered post-imperialist identity. An allegorical, quasi-phantasmagoric film that follows the associative logic of poetry and dreams.