Great Mother (HARUMI)

1983, 13:03 min, color, sound

In Great Mother (HARUMI), the first part of a trilogy, Idemitsu portrays fourteen-year-old Harumi's rebellion against her domineering mother. Harumi cannot escape her, even locked in her bedroom; a television monitor showing the idealized mother in a traditional Japanese kimono looms over her as a rebuke. As Idemitsu deftly demonstrates, the lessons of the patriarchy are handed down from generation to generation, mother to daughter. Completing the family triangle, Harumi's father encourages the mother/child conflict in a subconscious mirror of cultural sexual politics. Televised images of Harumi with her head in her mother's lap, or struggling, reflect the psychological dimension of the melodrama being played out in the narrative. The paradox of their relationship — that love is the source of hate — is poignantly expressed in the monitor image of Harumi and her mother locked in a symbiotic, almost sexual embrace.

In Japanese with English subtitles.

With: Sumie Ozawa, Noriko Kudo, Giro Tsuruga. Camera: Michael Goldberg. Written by Mizuho Jouta.