European Association for Japanese Studies

37 Stories about Leaving Home

Shelly Silver

19.08.2023 at 17:00

37 Stories about Leaving Home

In this award winning documentary, Shelly Silver presents an intimate portrait of a group of Japanese women ranging in age from 15 to 82, talking about their lives, families and society.

Country(ies) of filming:

Country of production:

Duration (in minutes):
52 minutes

Year of Production:


Japanese & English


In this award winning documentary, Shelly Silver presents an intimate portrait of a group of Japanese women ranging in age from 15 to 82, talking about their lives, families and society. In these stories one can begin to see, from very personal and individual perspectives, the societal changes that have occurred over the last three generations for women in Japan, bringing an exciting and often conflicting array of choices and positions. Many of the stories revolve around the relationships these grandmothers, mothers and daughters have with each other, filled with respect, rebellion, loss and love. Mixing childhood memories, frank statements, epic events and quotidian details; the film bears witness to the strength of these women and the difficulty of their choices, as they navigate between personal needs and familial and societal pressures. The interviews are framed by a traditional Japanese folktale; a magical and somewhat shocking narrative of a mother’s search for her abducted daughter, kidnapped by a monster on the eve of her wedding.

Director's biography

Shelly Silver is a New York based filmmaker and artist working with the still and moving image. Her work explores contested territories between public and private, narrative and documentary, and–increasingly in recent years–the watcher and the watched. Language, spoken and written, word and image, storytelling and framings in time and space, all become clues into shifting locations of power and desire. Silver has exhibited worldwide, including at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Tate Modern, Centre Georges Pompidou, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Yokohama Museum, the London ICA, and the London, the Singapore, New York, Moscow, and Berlin Film Festivals. Her films have been broadcast by BBC/England, PBS/USA, Arte/Germany, France, Planete/Europe, RTE/Ireland, SWR/Germany, and Atenor/Spain. Silver is Associate Professor and Director of Moving Image, Visual Arts Program, School of the Arts, Columbia University. Girls | Museum (2020, 71:00, HD, documentary), Score for Joanna Kotze (2019, 4:09, HD, experimental short), a tiny place that is hard to touch (2019, 38:52, HD, experimental fiction), Turn (2018, 4:42, 16mm, experimental short), This Film (2018, 6:53, 16mm, experimental short), A Strange New Beauty (2017, 50:40, HD, experimental narrative), THE LAMPS (2015, 4:10, HD, experimental short), frog spider hand horse house (2016, 49:00, HD, experimental), 觸摸 TOUCH, (2013, 68:00, HD, fictional essay),關於唐人街的五堂課與九個問題 5 lessons and 9 questions about Chinatown (2009, 9:54, HD, experimental documentary), in complete world (2008, 52:00, SD, documentary), What I’m Looking For (2004, 15:00, HD, experimental short), suicide (2003, 62:00, SD, experimental fiction), 1 (2001, 3:00, SD, experimental short), small lies, Big Truth (1999, 19:00, S8/SD, experimental document), 37 Stories About Leaving Home (1996, 52:00, SD, documentary), Former East/Former West (1994, 62:00, SD, documentary), The Houses That Are Left (1991, 52:00, 16mm/SD, experimental fiction), We (1990, 4:00, SD, experimental short), getting in. (1989, SD, experimental short), Things I Forget to Tell Myself (1989, 2:00, SD, experimental short), Meet the People (1986, 17:00, SD, experimental, short)

Delegate-only link:
fetching delegate only link ... You have to be a paid-up delegate to view the film. Please log in to confirm your delegate status.