43 days
United-States, 2013

Production : House Productions

Programmed by Olivia Cooper Hadjian

Chinese French, English



A man returns, after fifty years, to Chinatown to care for his dying mother. He is a librarian, a homosexual, an observer, an impersonator. He spends his time collecting images - his witnesses and collaborators. Sitting in the dark, we watch them and share his cloak of invisibility, both an advantage and a curse. An essay told from the point of view of one man, "Touch" is also a fiction, for this man is an invented person, an amalgam of research, interviews, off-the-record comments, secrets, implausibilities and floating desires. This man, who never tells us his name, returns as both an insider and a stranger to a neighbourhood from which he escaped as a teenager as quickly as he could.

Tënk's opinion

By creating a discrepancy between the words of the character telling his story and the subtitles that sometimes contradict or complete it, Shelly Silver slips doubt into her tale, undermining any notion of objective truth. She affirms an anchored vision that’s circumscribed by the body’s limits but one that can transcend them through imagination. The character's inventions, projecting his own memories onto the archives of others, intensifies those of the filmmaker who weaves together real facts and possible narratives to make her environment shine more brightly. With its construction sites, parties and the faces standing out from its crowds, a neighbourhood steeped in history takes on a new layer – the layer added by contact with an avid gaze.

Olivia Cooper Hadjian
Member of the Cinéma du Réel Selection Committee, critic for Les Cahiers du Cinéma


Shelly Silver

Shelly Silver

Shelly Silver est une artiste basée à New York, née en 1957 à Brooklyn. Depuis bientôt 30 ans, elle dessine une œuvre cinématographique à la croisée du cinéma documentaire, de la fiction et de l’art vidéo. De ces différentes approches du médium, elle tire des films à la portée politique, qui inscrivent l’intimité au sein de l’espace public et examinent l’articulation de l’individuel au collectif. Elle a exposé dans le monde entier, notamment au Musée d'art moderne de New York, au Tate Modern à Londres, au Centre Pompidou à Paris, au Musée d'Art d'Yokohama, etc. Ses films ont été diffusés dans de nombreux festivals à travers le monde (Londres, Singapour, New York, Moscou, Berlin), ainsi que sur des chaînes internationales. Shelly Silver est professeure agrégée et directrice du cursus Arts visuels et image animée à l'Université Columbia de New-York.