Premiere: Takashi Murakami’s Feature Film, “Jellyfish Eyes,” at the LACMA

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Still from film “Jellyfish Eyes,” 2013, ©2013Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Hi-Fructose attended last Tuesday’s international premiere of well-known Japanese artist Takashi Murakami’s first feature film, Jellyfish Eyes (opening in theaters on April 26), as part of the Film Independent at LACMA film series. The film premiere coincided with the opening of Murakami’s L.A. solo show at Blum & Poe, which opened to the public on April 13. Though a children’s film that mixes live action with CG animated characters, Jellyfish Eyes is deeply personal to Takashi Murakami, and may serve as an introduction to his artwork. The movie tells the story of Masashi, a young boy living in a post-Fukushima world who moves to a mysterious town where children battle remote-controlled pets called “Friends.” Masashi develops a special connection to his own Friend, Kurage-bo, who has “eyes like a jellyfish.” True to Murakami’s style, the Friends come in all shapes and sizes from the giant gray bunny Luxor to an anime maid named Ko2. Unbeknown to them, the Friends are part of an alien plot to transform their negative, fighting energy into a super-monster, recalling 1960s Japanese monster films like Godzilla and elements of ET.

Murakami explained the film’s history and meaning in a Q&A with Film Independent curator and film critic, Elvis Mitchell. “Twelve years ago, I was looking to make a CG film with the concept of change and transformation. When the earthquake happened in 2011 in Japan, it became a monster film in response to the radiation and problems of modern time.” The visual theme of jellyfish eyes comes across in Murakami’s current exhibition, “Arhat,” at Blum & Poe. Ties between the film’s blend of cuteness with tones of negativity and death can be made to Murakami’s works for “Arhat,” which have recurring motifs of flowers and skulls. The result is an emotional conflict that Murakami plans to explore in part two. “Part two is about Japan feeling like it can’t create a better future, so it is darker — it is my part.” Overall, the film is just meant to be enjoyed. Jellyfish Eyes directed and produced by Takashi Murakami opens in select theaters on April 26, 2013.

Takashi Murakami attends Takashi Murakami’s international film premiere of Jellyfish Eyes at LACMA on April 8, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Blum & Poe)

Takashi Murakami, Friedrich Kunath and Blum Family attend Takashi Murakami’s international film premiere of Jellyfish Eyes at LACMA on April 8, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Blum & Poe)

Emmanuel Perrotin, Cliff Einstein, Takashi Murakami and Mandy Einstein attend Takashi Murakami’s international film premiere of Jellyfish Eyes at LACMA on April 8, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Blum & Poe)

Tim Blum (L) and “Kuragebo” attend a Film Independent at LACMA special screening of “Jellyfish Eyes” at Bing Theatre At LACMA on April 8, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)

“Luxor” (L) and “Kuragebo” attend a Film Independent at LACMA special screening of “Jellyfish Eyes” at Bing Theatre At LACMA on April 8, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)

Still from film “Jellyfish Eyes,” 2013, ©2013Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Still from film “Jellyfish Eyes,” 2013, ©2013Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Still from film “Jellyfish Eyes,” 2013, ©2013Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Still from film “Jellyfish Eyes,” 2013, ©2013Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Still from film “Jellyfish Eyes,” 2013, ©2013Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Still from film “Jellyfish Eyes,” 2013, ©2013Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

3 thoughts on “Premiere: Takashi Murakami’s Feature Film, “Jellyfish Eyes,” at the LACMA

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