Born in a patriarchal family in Japan, Mako Idemitsu's works explore her inner struggle and identity as a woman, wife, daughter, mother, and a foreigner looking for a home abroad. After having two children in California with artist Sam Francis, Idemitsu took up Super 8 film camera. The 1972 Woman’s House is a document of her visit to Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro's Womanhouse, a feminist art installation and performance space. In the same year Idemitsu made Inner-Man, her first work featuring a Jungian inner persona, a theme and style she continues to explore. In the work, Idemitsu overlays images of a naked man over a woman in kimono, suggesting the inner man in a woman. A beautiful picture of her lonely sentiments of living abroad, Santa Monica 3 (1974) shines light on Idemitsu’s filmic lyricism. Having switched from film to video, Emotional Volatility about My Father (1983) illustrates her tangled relationship with her father, who had disowned her when she chose to remain in California. The last piece in the Idemitsu program, Great Mother (SACHIKO) (1985) is a typical representation of what is known as "Mako-style," in which the physical monitor placed in the shot represents a psychological other that inflicts internal conflict within the protagonist.
Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival at Philadelphia Community College
Collaborative Cataloging Japan presented works by two pioneering female Japanese video artists. Mako Idemitsu and Shigeko Kubota share common grounds as artists who relocated to the U.S. in the 1960s—Idemitsu to California, and Kubota to New York. The 70-minute screening program is followed by discussions with Dr. Midori Yoshimoto, Associate Professor and Gallery Director at New Jersey City University.
• Woman's House, 1972, 13:40 min (5 min excerpt), 16mm transferred to video
• Inner-Man, 1972, 3:40 min, 16mm transferred to video
• At Santa Monica 3, 1975, 15:30 min, 16mm transferred to video
• Emotional Volatility about My Father, 1981, 5:30 min, video
• Great Mother (SACHIKO), 1984, 18:50 min (5 min excerpt)