Yoji, What’s Wrong With You?

Mako Idemitsu

Staff Picks Yoji, What’s Wrong With You?
Mako Idemitsu

17 Minutes
Courtesy of Courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York.

Staff Picks

July 1-31, 2024

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The psychosexual drama Yoji, What’s Wrong With You? examines the identity of woman as mother in Japanese culture, through an Oedipal narrative of a skewed “family romance.” When Yoji announces to his mother that he wants her to meet a new girlfriend, the mother’s jealousy destroys the relationship. Idemitsu’s signature device of using a television monitor within the domestic space works as a powerful metaphor for the ubiquity of the mother in Yoji’s psychological life. Idemitsu’s melodramas always articulate a double-edged irony: With no identity outside of her maternal role, Yoji’s mother fastens onto her son, ultimately destroying him. Yoji himself is seen as emotionally stunted, unable to leave his mother or experience love for any other woman.

Presented as the July 2024 edition of e-flux Film’s monthly series Staff Picks.

For more information, contact program@e-flux.com.

Film, Feminism, Psychology & Psychoanalysis, Gender, Sexuality & Eroticism
Video Art, Experimental Film, Japan, Television, Family
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Mako Idemitsu (b. Tokyo, 1940) creates domestic narratives that examine female identity within the context of the contemporary Japanese family. Echoing and subverting the popular melodramas of Japanese television, she applies a feminist critique to her fictions of the psychological “family romance.” Dramatizing the strict gender roles that shape mother-child and husband-wife relationships, she explores the role of women in a patriarchal, mediated culture. Her work is in the permanent collections of numerous museums, including the Fukuyama Museum, Tokyo, and The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Idemitsu has exhibited her works widely throughout Japan and internationally at festivals and institutions including Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE); Ottawa National Gallery, Canada; the National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Venice Biennale; Asian-American International Video Festival, New York; Festival du Nouveau Cinema et de la Video, Montreal; Documenta 8, Kassel, Germany; and the Academy of Art, Honolulu. She lives in Tokyo.


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