Kappa (1986, 26 min, color, sound) By Bruce and Norman Yonemoto in collaboration with Mike Kelley. Kappais a boldly provocative and original work. Deconstructing the myth of Oedipus within the framework of an ancient Japanese folk story, the Yonemotos craft a highly charged discourse of loss and desire. Quoting from Bunuel, Freud, pop media and art, they place the symbology of Western psychosexual analytical theory into a cross-cultural context, juxtaposing the Oedipal and Kappa myths in a delirious collusion of form and content. The Kappa, a malevolent Japanese water imp, is played with eerie intensity by artist Mike Kelley; actress Mary Woronov plays Jocasta as a vamp from a Hollywood exploitation film. Steeped in perversions and violent longings, both the Kappa and Oedipus legends are presented in highly stylized, purposefully “degraded” forms, reflecting their media-exploitative cultural contexts. In this ironic yet oddly poignant essay of psychosexual compulsion and catharsis, the Yonemotos demonstrate that even in debased forms, cultural archetypes hold the power to move and manipulate.

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