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35 min. Japanese, English.

In a faceless apartment in Tatekawa, Tokyo, an American woman hires a Japanese woman to translate interviews about Japan’s declining birthrate. The American woman is presumptuous in her knowledge of Japan; the Japanese woman suffers from a self-professed excess of critical distance. They grate, fight, and crash together in love or lust, at which point their story gets hijacked into science fiction territory, as the translator interrupts their work sessions with stories from a world infected with the knowledge of its own demise. This neighborhood has already known devastation, having been wiped out the night of 9 March 1945 by American bombs.
The third protagonist is the Tatekawa itself, the canal covered by an elevated highway that runs past the translator’s apartment, which gives the neighborhood its name. Reflecting back the concrete world in distorted patterns of blue, green, or glittering black, the Tatekawa transports a shifting procession of birds, shoes, condoms, crabs, plastic bags, flowers, big fish, little fish, death, life.

Shelly Silver, born in New York, USA in 1957, studied History and Conceptual Art at Cornell University. Starting as a photographer, she moved to bookmaking and then settled on the moving image. After graduating, she worked extensively in the industry as a film and video editor. Her experience in commercial film and television, as well as her early entanglement with conceptual art and structuralism, led her to speak about the world through a formal bending of film and television grammar.

Production Shelly Silver. Production company House Productions (New York, USA). Written and directed by Shelly Silver. Cinematography Shelly Silver. Editing Shelly Silver. Sound mixing Mike Degen. Voice Saori Tsukada. Translation Riyo Niimoto. Post production coordinator Riaki Enyama.


selection: 1984: Are We All Here? (50 min.). 1987: Meet the People (17 min.). 1989: Things I Forget to Tell Myself (2 min.), getting in (3 min.). 1990: We (4 min.). 1991: The Houses That Are Left (51 min.). 1994: Former East/Former West (62 min.), April 2nd (10 min.). 1996: 37 Stories About Leaving Home (52 min.). 1999: small lies, Big Truth (19 min.). 2001: I. (3 min.). 2003: suicide (7 min.). 2004: What I'm Looking For (15 min.). 2008: in complete world (53 min.). 2009: 5 lessons & 9 questions about Chinatown (10 min.). 2013: TOUCH (68 min.), frog spider hand horse house (47 min., Forum Expanded 2013). 2015: The Lamps (4 min.). 2017: A Strange New Beauty (52 min.). 2018: This Film (7 min.), TURN (4 min.). 2019: A Tiny Place That is Hard to Touch.

Photo: © Shelly Silver

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur