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The Black Ships: The trio has long been interested in diagrams and schematics — their popular Excel floor lamp was inspired by bar graphs, for example. The film, beyond presenting likenesses of the Japanese and American negotiators, is filled with drawings of ships and their fittings, plus sketches of everyday objects made by the Japanese upon encountering Perry’s fleet. “They’re sort of precursors to the idea of technical drawings,” says Richardson. “I also love that you can see the different artists' hands.”