Halving the Bones

A film by Ruth Ozeki

1995 | 70 minutes | Color/BW | DVD | Order No. 99097


Skeletons in the closet? HALVING THE BONES delivers a surprising twist to this tale. This cleverly-constructed film tells the story of Ruth, a half-Japanese filmmaker living in New York, 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, which she is supposed to deliver to her estranged mother. A narrative and visual web of family stories, home movies and documentary footage, HALVING THE BONES provides a spirited exploration of the meaning of family, history and memory, cultural identity and what it means to have been named after Babe Ruth!


“**** Editor’s Choice. One of my top one or two faves. Ozeki is both a terrific storyteller and a sly visual trickster; she seems to delight in keeping us off-guard, awake and thinking. Highly recommended for public and academic library collections.”

Gary Handman Video Librarian

“A lyrical and sharply-observed film .”

Barbara Abrash NYU


  • International Documentary Association Award Nomination
  • Margaret Mead Film Festival
  • Montreal World Film Festival
  • San Francisco Asian American Film Festival
  • Sundance Film Festival
  • Sydney & Melbourne Film Festivals


Ruth Ozeki

Ruth Ozeki is a novelist, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist priest.

Her first two novels, My Year of Meats (1998) and All Over Creation (2003), have been translated into 11 languages and published in 14 countries.

Her most recent work, A Tale for the Time-Being (2013), was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and will be published in over thirty countries.

Ruth's documentary and dramatic independent films, including Halving the Bones, have been shown on PBS, at the Sundance Film Festival, and at colleges and universities across the country.

A longtime Buddhist practitioner, Ruth ordained in 2010 and is affiliated with the Brooklyn Zen Center and the Everyday Zen Foundation. She lives in British Columbia and New York City. (8/14)

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