Kiyoko's Situation

1989, 24:19 min, color, sound

Kiyoko's Situation articulates the deeply embedded cultural roles of Japanese women through the parallel stories of two female artists, Kiyoko and Tani. In Idemitsu's narrative-within-a-narrative, "Kiyoko's situation" is played out on a television monitor within Tani's drama. Tani is paralyzed in her attempts to paint by her feeling that, as a single woman, she has failed in society's eyes. Kiyoko, a young mother viciously criticized by her husband and family for her fierce determination to paint, eventually compromises her art for "maternal duty." As Kiyoko complies with the family, Tani, isolated and despairing, is driven to suicide. Idemitsu's chillingly omniscient television monitor, which acts as the psychological "other," metaphorically and literally condemns Tani to death. In the final cruel irony, she hangs herself, using the television monitor as a jumping-off point.

In Japanese with English subtitles.

With: Rieko Suzuki, Sumie Ozawa, Michie Ikeda, Rokurou Abe, Masahiko Uchizawa, Koji Takahashi, Momoko Mimura. Camera: Michael Goldberg. 16-mm Camera: Shigeru Mikoshiba, Yasuo Nomoto.