The Houses That Are Left

1991, 51 min, b&w and color, sound

The Houses That Are Left is a story of mortality, friendship, revenge, murder and the supernatural, as two friends come together to try to figure out how to live, while being besieged by malignant messages from the dead. Juxtaposing black-and-white film with color video, and fusing narrative elements of drama, comedy and documentary, Silver provides a structure that allows for a plurality of voices to speak: two women who were childhood friends, people on the street who are interviewed for "market research," and the observations of dead people who watch the living on television monitors. Truth and fiction are blurred as the dead communicate with the living and real people are interviewed by fictional characters. The title refers to a statement by Gustave Flaubert that what is most telling about a historical period is not what it leaves behind but what is lost.

(Note: This work is also available in a 30-minute broadcast version.)

Writer/Director: Shelly Silver. With: Judy Blazer, Maggie Low, Doug Barron, Larry Maxwell, Kate Valk, Quinn Raymond, Sam Coppola, Isa Thomas, Bill Raymond, Felice Neals, Ted Rebich, Ralph Tachuk, Michael Smith, Stephen M. Grafenstine, D. Morgan Rice. Music: Roy Nathanson, Curtis Fowlkes, E.J. Rodriguez, Gustav Mahler. Produced by Shelly Silver in association with New Television WGBH/WNET.