Shelly Silver

2013 | 01:06:50 | United States | English | B&W and Color | Stereo | 16:9 | HD video

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: City, Death and Dying, Documentary, LGBTQ, Literature, Memory, Time

A man returns, after fifty years, to Chinatown to care for his dying mother. He is a librarian, a re-cataloguer, a gay man, a watcher, an impersonator. He passes his time collecting images that he puts before us – his witnesses and collaborators. Sitting in the dark, we share his cloak of invisibility, both a benefit and a curse.

"Chinatown, New York. A man is watching. In a voice-over in Chinese, he recalls his past in the district where he was born and which he left fifty years ago. Windows, sidewalks, fire escapes, the stars of locally shot autobiographical films whom the observer enlists as “his extras”… The photographic poetry of the film’s urban inserts almost makes us forget to ponder on the narrator himself, on his loquaciousness, which is made even more obvious by the silent intertitles. In this film made by a woman filmmaker, the man – a librarian, homosexual, Chinese-speaking – is an invention. But as he says, talking about an entirely different subject, “words enable you to imagine the impossible”. The documentary bite thus leaves its mark – the man exists, through the power of a voice that builds “a machine for watching, a machine that teaches me how to watch”. By staking her right to documentary material as well as fictional writing, Shelly Silver sizes up the likelihood of an imaginary point of view reaching a truth more subtle than autobiographical truth. “I’m looking for a lie that will reveal the world” (these words are spoken by the man, of course…)."

– Charlotte Garson, Cinéma du Réel

Note: This title is intended by the artist to be viewed in High Definition. While DVD format is available to enable accessibility, VDB recommends presentation on Blu-ray or HD digital file.


Pricing Information

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Prizes + Awards

Le Prix du Patrimoine de l'Immatériel/The Intangible Heritage Award, Départment du pilotage de la recherche et de la politique scientifique, Ministry of Culture and Communications, Cinéma du Réel

Mention Spéciale/Special Mention, par le jury de la Compétition Internationale, Cinéma du Réel

\aut\FILM Award for Best LGBT Film, Ann Arbor Film Festival



International Film Festival Rotterdam

Exhibitions + Festivals

Ann Arbor Fim Festival, Ann Arbor, MI, 2014

11th Queer City Cinema Internatinoal Film Festival, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, 2014

Cinéma du Réel, Paris, France, 2013

MARFICI/Documentary Competition, Mar del Plata, Argentina, 2013

Platinum Section, OUTFEST, Los Angeles, CA, 2013

Ann Arbor Film Festival, MI, 2014