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Harmful Insect is one of those magnificent films that makes the most extreme behavior comprehensible. It's a portrait of intense alienation, centering on a seventh-grade school-girl. Sachiko lives her life surrounded by adults who are at best ineffectual and at worst (and they are very often at their worse) predatory.
Director Akihiko Shiota does not shy away from the dark, but the film is neither exploitative nor gratuitously gruesome. It is bleak and powerful, and the moments of hope, happiness, and humor stand out all the brighter for the vividness with which Sachiko's psychological isolation is portrayed.
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