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Get Ready for Weird, Wondrous 'Jellyfish Eyes' from Takashi Murakami, Fave of Kanye West and Pharrell (VIDEOS)

Photo of Ryan Lattanzio By Ryan Lattanzio | TOH! May 9, 2014 at 2:15PM

What could be more wonderfully weird than the new film from artist Takashi Murakami, "Jellyfish Eyes"? Watch the trailer, and check out his work with Kanye West and Pharrell here.
"Jellyfish Eyes"
Janus Films "Jellyfish Eyes"

What could be more wonderfully weird than the new film from artist Takashi Murakami, "Jellyfish Eyes"?

Known for his ocular aesthetic and pop-art-inspired wall installations, Japanese mixed-media artist Murakami brought his feature filmmaking debut "Jellyfish Eyes" to the Film Independent at LACMA film series last Spring. Watch the eye-popping, insane first trailer for the film, which kicks off a museum rollout on May 1, below.

Like his contemporary visual art, Murakami's colorful film -- which name-checks Spielberg's "ET" -- juxtaposes cute-and-cuddly with the grotesque. Blending CGI and live-action, "Jellyfish Eyes" follows a young boy who moves to a small city in the Japanese countryside. But Masashi soon discovers that inside the apartment he shares with his mother lives a tiny monster, and that beneath this strange city is a sordid bedrock of conspiracies, cults and evil experiments. 

Murakami has storied collaborations with other contemporary artist and, most notably, hip-hop celebs Pharrell and Kanye West. Murakami gave "Happy" singer Pharrell a cartoon makeover for his forthcoming music video, a remix of the theme song from "Jellyfish Eyes." Check out the animated Pharrell below. (More on that via Entertainment Weekly here.) In 2009, Murakami and Pharrell created a multimedia sculpture that sold for $2 million at Art Basel.

In 2007, Murakami designed album artwork for Kanye West's album "Graduation," and applied his signature animation style in directing West's "Good Morning" video (watch below). West vaingloriously proclaimed that his song "Runaway" made Murakami cry.

Allegedly, the ambitious "Jellyfish Eyes" was ten years in the making. And based on the trailer below, which debuted on Vanity Fair, Murakami's yeoman efforts show. Screening info is here.


This article is related to: Takashi Murakami, Jellyfish Eyes, Pharrell Williams, Video

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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.