We are happy to announce what we hope will become a monthly or bimonthly event—Dharma Film Night—with two films. Each film will be followed by discussion. Popcorn and tea provided. These events are by donation to support Mountain Rain.
Our second Dharma Film Night is part of our ongoing series, Buddhist Perspectives on Death, Dying and Loss. In our contemporary society many people wonder what to do with a loved one’s ashes after their death. Sometimes it takes a long time to figure that out. Ruth Ozeki’s film deals with the complexities of what to do with “the bones” when one’s racial/ethnic/cultural heritage is dual.
Skeletons in the closet? HALVING THE BONES delivers a surprising twist to this tale. The film tells the story of the half-Japanese filmmaker, Ruth, who has inherited a can of bones that she keeps on a shelf in her closet. The bones are half of the remains of her dead Japanese grandmother—the rest are buried in a cemetery in Tokyo. Ruth has been charged by her Japanese relatives with the seemingly simple task of bringing the bones home to her mother, who has become alienated from her family and her past, but for Ruth, who is “halved,” nothing is as simple as it seems.
In a narrative and visual web of family lies and stories, home movies and documentary footage, Ruth traces one hundred years of her maternal family history, from Japan, to Hawaii, to a suburb in Connecticut. As the film unfolds, she leads us in an equivocal inquiry into the shifty nature of memory and the documentary genre itself. Like Ruth, her film is “halved.” Neither documentary nor fiction, it rides the edge between the two, searching for a more integrated way of imagining the world.