Great Mother (SACHIKO)

1984, 18:45 min, color, sound

The domestic melodrama Great Mother (SACHIKO) examines the insularity of women's roles in the Japanese family, focusing on the relationships of mother and daughter, husband and wife. Caught between her possessive mother and abusive husband, Sachiko struggles through her daily existence. Her mother is seen as omniscient and omnipresent, appearing either by her daughter's side or on the large television monitor that dominates the action. In a scene emblematic of Idemitsu's forceful visual metaphors, the mother — on the monitor — becomes an internalized superego who watches the husband make love to a detached and indifferent Sachiko. Idemitsu's depiction of the family's psychological circuit is both poignant and ironic: the very intimacy of the mother-daughter relationship, which excludes and alienates the husband, becomes a refuge from his abuse.

In Japanese with English subtitles.

Written by Mizuho Jouta, Mako Idemitsu. Camera: Michael Goldberg. Sound: Tetsu Furudate. With: Yoshiko Imai, Haruyo Matsuda, Seigo Ishikawa. Lighting: Shunichi Fujioka.