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


Kimi Takesue

In 2005 Takesue received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Film. Other honors include a Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowship, two artist fellowships from the New York Foundation in the Arts, an Eastman Kodak Cinematography Fellowship, and grants from the Independent Television Service (ITVS), Ford Foundation, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, National Asian American Telecommunications Association, The Arts Council of England and artist fellowships at Yaddo Artist Colony and the MacDowell Colony.

Takesue’s feature-length Ugandan documentary, Where Are You Taking Me?, was commissioned by the Rotterdam International Film Festival and premiered at the festival, followed by screenings in dozens of venues including MoMA’s Documentary Fortnight, the Los Angles Film Festival, and festivals in Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Uganda, Poland, Portugal and India. In 2012 Where Are You Taking Me? was theatrically released by Icarus Films, was a Critics’ Pick by Time Out-New York and LA Weekly and was described by The New York Times as, " unusual, visually rich visit to the nation."

Her 2011 narrative short That Which Once Was, commissioned by the Independent Television Service (ITVS), explores the plight of environmental refugees and premiered at the SXSW Film Festival. The film received the Futurestates Audience Award and has screened at festivals from Korea to Copenhagen.

Raised in Hawai'i and Massachusetts, Takesue received a B.A. from Oberlin College and an M.F.A. from Temple University. Before coming to Rutgers-Newark, Takesue was Assistant Professor in the Film Program at Syracuse University. She currently teaches introductory and advanced video production courses in documentary and narrative, as well as film studies as an assistant professor at Rutgers-Newark University. (8/14)

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