Takashi Murakami, Jellyfish Eyes
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    Takashi Murakami’s first film was the result of a challenge set by friend and filmmaker Yoshihiro Nishimura. Jellyfish Eyes, a project over ten years in the making, had stalled and Nishimura encouraged the Japanese artist to make the film he wanted to make, as David Lynch did with Eraserhead. Re-energized, Murakami turned what began as animation into a live-action film. The story follows Masashi as he moves to a small town following a natural disaster. Upon discovering a mysterious flying jellyfish Masashi soon realizes that all of his classmates also have similarly magical pets, known as F.R.I.E.N.D.s. As the origin of the creature is revealed, a plot unravels that threatens both the safety of Masashi’s surviving family and the entire town. A story set in a world post-Fukushima, its real impetuous is one of social change and empowerment. Jellyfish Eyes [Mememe no kurage] (2013) moves beyond Murakami’s Superflat celebration and critique of popular culture, focusing instead on the after-effect of disaster and inspiring change. On 22 May, The Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C. will host a screening of the film, accompanied by a special talk with Murakami, as part of a US screening tour that will take place in May and June.

    Originally published on May 23, 2014