In June 2014, we set up the pop-up cinema in the LAGS (Landscaping and Gardening Society) Shed to screen Mothra, a cult Japanese movie from 1961. This was part of a day of events including walks, tea and after the film moth trapping with local entomologist Graham Finch who has been monitoring moths on the campus over a number of years, sharing the process of moth trapping and the findings with Fruit Routes at public events (see link to moth trapping)
In this film Mothra is a truly unstoppable force of nature, a giant moth made of willow, fake fur and sequins who has evolved from a giant caterpillar on a remote Pacific Island. Towards the end of the film she makes a cocoon against a towering broadcasting transmitter and metamorphosises before flying over ‘New Kirk’ on her mission to save two tiny singing sisters who have been kidnapped from the island, destroying everything in her path. Everyone seemed to take something different away from the film with its quaint and highly imaginative special effects and fantastical post-war storyline.
The film was made shortly after the second world war and in the story residual radiation pervades the island where the giant moth and tiny sisters have evolved.
A contemporary subtext for the piece is the Fukushima nuclear disaster and the moth and butterfly mutations that have occurred there. Moths are generally quite resilient to genetic mutations caused by radiation but the Fukushima moths have permanent genetic mutations that are being passed on through the generations – an indicator of the extent of radiation that has been present and still permeates the ecosystem.