Mako Idemitsu’s Complete Work List
The idea for this scenario came from a statement in Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex, “No one is born a woman. One becomes a woman.” Idemitsu depicts a woman artist married to another artist and caught between the conflicting demands of housework and creativity. It was an attitude instilled in her as child because of the way her parents and school teachers behaved toward her. “Since you’re a girl, you should do the housework.” When she was deciding what to study, she repeatedly heard the words, “Because you are a girl…” To use a term popular in Japan right now, she was subjected to “mind control.” At first Kae, woman artist does give in because of this psychological programming, but eventually she fights against these psychological factors represented by a variety of images and wins. This process will be shown through striking images using a projector.
Kiyoko is a middle-aged housewife. She is trying to paint, after twenty years when she had to give up painting. Everyday problems will trap a woman if she has too much energy and ability to be wasted on house-works. The desire to express her identity has been repressed so long, and now it is coming out with a vengeance. The frustration over her suppressed desires drives her desperation. The greater her latent ability, the deeper her desperation. Award from Mention Special du Jury categorie “EXPERIMENTAL” La mondiale de film et videos, Quebec, Canada in 1991, and Prix Procirep Section Fiction, Festival International de Videos et Films, Centre Audivisuel Simone de Beauvoir, Paris, France in 1992
Mama has plans for son Yoji even before his birth, plans that no one, not even her absent philandering husband or Yoji himself can persuade her to abandon. Stereotypically maternal manipulation conflicting with a son’s desire to live his own life is at the core of this work. The conflict is represented in a flatly lit, austere space, with a television playing a significant narrative throughout the piece. The push-and-pull of filial relations has a witty, incestuous bite.
Today, Japan is envied by the world for her economic prosperity, which however, has resulted in producing this sort of average family. Its contains a wife who has to serve her husband, a preoccupied businessman, and who showers all her attention on her child who is also left behind at home with the mother. The child, especially a son, becomes a replacement for her husband. Mother and son share an intimate life like lovers at home without the husband. It seems that this is such a common occurrence that Japanese society ignores this video work. Those that are envious of the Japanese economic success will become less so if they see this work and realize what this real phenomena in Japanese society is like.
This personal film about the light and shadow of plants is successfully constructed using the subjective gaze of the narrator herself depicting her mother’s death. This work is important to an understanding of this artist, Idemitsu.
The relationship between the mother and daughter is psychologically very tight. The isolated husband is irritated and becomes violent whenever he drinks but the two women cannot understand the reason of his violence. The mother lets the daughter marry for appearance’s sake although in reality she hangs onto the daughter forever.
In this work, the subconscious problems of a daughter who rejects going school is observed by the function of C.G. Jung’s psychological concept, the Great Mother. The subconsciousness of the daughter is shown on the screen of the monitor in the scenes. When the daughter becomes violent, how does a personified great mother function?
In the early 80’s and extravagant campaign to sell the newly discovered video machine was mounted in Japan. About this time, there was a growing problem where bored housewives were becoming over attached to their children, and finding it almost impossible to let them leave the family nest. “Video and children were now being used as substitutes to fill the emptiness of the lives of many Japanese house wives,” I felt. This disturbing development in Japanese society prompted me to make a video, a black comedy exploring the theme. At the same time, I was overhearing the persistent voices: “let’s make a home video!”