Summer of the Serpent

A film by Kimi Takesue

2004 | 27 minutes | Color | 35mm/DVD | Order No. 05867


This beautiful short drama exquisitely explores the unlikely bond that develops between two people from different worlds. Eight-year old Juliette sits at the side of the local pool waiting for another lonely summer day to pass when an unexpected pair of Japanese newcomers arrives. Fascinated by the mysterious black-clad woman and her yakuza assistant, Juliette transforms an ordinary day into an imaginative adventure, embarking on a surreal journey of discovery.

Tender and beautifully hypnotic, Summer of the Serpent raises provocative questions about difference and desire. It also artfully explores representations of Asians on film, Asian masculinity, and cross-cultural encounters through the story of one young woman’s burgeoning sexuality.


“Kimi Takesue’s SUMMER OF THE SERPENT is lulling, hypnotic and gorgeous. Exploring and subverting the appeal of Asiatic mystery, it beautifully evokes the steaming daydreams of summer.”

Sam Adams Philadelphia City Paper

“New Yorker Kimi Takesue traveled to Rotterdam with SUMMER OF THE SERPENT, a charming short about a strange encounter at a swimming pool. Keep an eye on the talented Takesue.”

V.A. Musetto New York Post

“The latest short from award winner Kimi Takesue is the elegantly shot, richly textured, brilliantly acted story of Juliette, a young girl with big brown eyes and a frown watching the summer pass by. Short on swimming skills she is stuck at the community pool suntanning with Mom. When a woman in black arrives with her enigmatic servant, Juliette glimpses a new world of possibility.”

Vancouver International Film Festival


Library Journal

“Witty and winsome.”

Steven Rea The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Incredibly evocative, thoughtful, and stimulating.”

Dr. Timothy Shary Director of Screen Studies, Traina Center for the Arts, Clark University

“Delightfully observant and rhythmic, rich in details that engage and provoke the viewer. A wonderful film for cross-cultural studies and youth centered discussions as rumba meets Japan.”

Herman Law City College of New York

"Heralds the emergence of a major filmmaker...creates an alluring cinematic space built around the tensions and mysteries of a silent exchange of gazes, the suspense generated by the discovery of the unknown and the rhythm that springs from the editing and the imaginative use of music."

Berenice Reynaud California Institute of the Arts


  • Brooklyn International FF - Grand Jury Prize
  • Vancouver International Film Festival
  • Rotterdam International Film Festival
  • Brisbane International Film Festival
  • Rhode Island International Film Festival
  • Cleveland International Film Festival
  • Hamptons International Film Festival
  • Florida Film Festival
  • San Francisco Asian International Film Festival
  • DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival
  • Boston Asian American Film Festival
  • Walker Art Center, "Women with Vision"
  • Tampere International Short Film Festival
  • Festival International de Films de Femmes, Créteil
  • Philadelphia International Film Festival


Kimi Takesue

Kimi Takesue is an award-winning filmmaker and recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship in Film. In 2018, she received a highly-competitive national Breakthrough Award and fellowship from Chicken and Egg Pictures. Other honors include a Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowship, two fellowships from NYFA, a Kodak Cinematography Fellowship, and grants from Catapult, ITVS, NYSCA, and the Arts Council of England. She is a six-time fellow at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony.

Takesue's documentary 95 AND 6 TO GO was nominated for the prestigious 2017 European Doc Alliance Award. The film screened at over twenty-five international festivals including CPH:DOX, Dok Leipzig, DOC NYC, Doclisboa, BAFICI-Buenos Aires International Festival of Cinema, and Krakow Film Festival. The film garnered Special Jury Prizes for Best Documentary at Indie Memphis and the Los Angeles Asian International Film Festival.

Takesue's acclaimed documentary WHERE ARE YOU TAKING ME? was commissioned by the Rotterdam Film Festival and premiered at the festival, followed by screenings at MoMA-Doc Fortnight and the LA Film Festival. The film was theatrically released by Icarus Films and was a Critics Pick by Time Out-NYC and LA Weekly. Takesue's films have screened at more than two hundred festivals/museums internationally including Sundance, Locarno, New Directors/New Films, SXSW, and the Museum of Modern Art-NYC and have aired on PBS, IFC, Comcast, and the Sundance Channel. Her films have received positive reviews from The New York Times, Variety, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor and The Nation. Takesue's films are distributed by Women Make Movies, New Day Films, and Icarus. (7/19)


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