Jay Rosenblatt Films - Locomotion Films
The Kodachrome Elegies When You Awake The Darkness of Day The Claustrum The D Train Phantom Limb Human Remains The Smell of Burning Ants King of the Jews Period Piece I Just Wanted to Be Somebody Beginning Filmmaking I Used to Be a Filmmaker The Films of Jay Rosenblatt - Vol 1 The Films of Jay Rosenblatt - Vol 2
King of the Jews
a film about fear and transcendence

Written and directed by Jay Rosenblatt
18 minutes • 16mm • color/B&W • 2000

Grand Prize, USA Film Festival

"A highly emotional personal essay on Christian anti-Semitism that weaves together history, autobiography and snippets of Hollywood films depicting the life of Jesus."
–Stephen Holden, The New York Times

King of the Jews is a film about anti-Semitism and transcendence. Utilizing Hollywood movies, 1950's educational films, personal home movies and religious films, the filmmaker depicts his childhood fear of Jesus Christ. These childhood recollections are a point of departure for larger issues such as the roots of Christian anti-Semitism.

King of the Jews explores the challenges and fears of being an outsider, of holding beliefs different from the mainstream. The myth that "the Jews" killed Jesus has been responsible for centuries of pain and destruction. After 2000 years, the wound is still open. The film uses the resurrection of Christ as a metaphor for personal renewal. Only by acknowledging past injustices can we get closer to our shared humanity.



"(A) gem ... a deft found-footage construction. Mixing personal voiceover, home movies, educational filmstrips, and Hollywood clips, Rosenblatt examines conceptions of Christ. In King of the Jews, documentary's two wires cross and ignite: form and content, story and storytelling. It goes to show that good things can come in small packages."
- Patricia Thomson, IndieWire.com, Park City 2000

"...King of the Jews is another historical landmark in the Rosenblatt oeuvre."
- Susan Gerhard, SF Bay Guardian, Rep Picks

"A highly emotional personal essay on Christian anti-Semitism that weaves together history, autobiography and snippets of Hollywood films depicting the life of Jesus. The narrator, who is Jewish, confesses his childhood terror of Jesus, which was related to anti-Semitism and the prevalent notion that Jews were responsible for Jesus' death. From there the film brings in historical research to disprove that point. Finally, in an astounding dramatic leap, it parallels an excruciatingly graphic silent-film portrayal of Jesus' persecution and Crucifixion with documentary scenes of the Holocaust."
- Stephen Holden, The New York Times

"King of the Jews is a stark and moving visual meditation on Jewish identity in the post-Holocaust (and still Christian) world. It is a painfully beautiful and brief personal collage. This film is a useful tool for sparking classroom and small group discussion, guaranteed to provoke awe, thought and some necessary discomfort."
- Dr. Sanford Lowe, Professor, religious studies, Santa Rosa Junior College

"A transcendent channel-surfing passion play...Rosenblatt turns celluloid water into wine."
- Bruce Bennett, Time Out New York

"An evocative catalyst for discussion that succinctly reveals not only the Christian roots of anti-Semitism but also evokes our desire to heal the world."
- Janis Plotkin Director, San Francisco Jewish Film Festival

"Funny and terrifying."
- Goldie Charles, Jewish Week


Grand Prize - USA Film Festival
Best Editing Award - Ann Arbor Film Festival
First Prize - Big Muddy Film Festival
Best Experimental Film - Humboldt Film Festival
First Prize - Black Maria Film & Video Festival
Grand Prize - Marin County National Festival of Short Films
Director’s Choice Award - Convergence Film/Video/Animation Festival


Sundance Film Festival
Tampere International Short Film Festival, Finland
Carolina Film & Video Festival
Los Angeles Independent Film Festival
Images Film Festival, Toronto
Florida Film Festival
It's All True Documentary Film Festival, Brazil
Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema
San Francisco Cinematheque
Wisconsin Film Festival
Images Film Festival, Toronto
Athens International Film & Video Festival
Atlanta Film & Video Festival
Vila do Conde International Short Film Festival
Norwegian Short Film Festival
Odense Film Festival, Denmark
European Media Art Festival, Osnabruck, Germany
Palm Springs Short Film Festival
Melbourne International Film festival, Australia
San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
Denver Jewish Film Festival
British Short Film Festival
Chicago Underground Film Festival
One-Reel Film Festival, Seattle
Vancouver International Film Festival
Mill Valley Film Festival
Montreal Festival of New Cinema
Denver International Film Festival
Uppsala International Short Film Festival
Outfest Film Festival, Los Angeles
Film Forum, New York – one-week theatrical run
Viper Film Festival, Switzerland
Cinematexas, Austin
Cork International Film Festival
Brief Encounters Short Film Festival, UK
Makor Film Series, NYC
Boston Jewish Film Festival
Documental, Los Angeles
Siena International Short Film Festival, Italy
Rio de Janeiro Int'l Short Film Festival, Brazil.
Sonoma Film Society
Regensburg Short Film Festival, Germany
Monter Sampler, Paris, France
Shorts International Film Festival, NY
Washington Jewish Film Festival
Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival
San Francisco Independent Film Festival
Bologne Short Film Festival (NetImage), Italy
New Jersey Jewish Film Festival
Cinequest Film Festival
Cleveland International Film Festival
Montreal Jewish Film Festival
Vancouver Jewish Film Festival
New Jersey Jewish Film Festival
Contra Costa Jewish Film Festival
Brooklyn Jewish Film Festival
Toronto Jewish Film Festival
Walker Art Center
Varsity Theater, Seattle (one-week run)
Facets Theatre, Chicago (one-week run)
Short Cuts Film Festival, Cologne, Germany
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge
Roxie Theatre, San Francisco (one-week run)
Fine Arts Theatre, Berkeley (one-week run)
Rafael Film Center, San Rafael (one-week run)
Cleveland Cinematheque, Cleveland


Written, directed, edited, photographed & produced by Jay Rosenblatt
Creative consultant & co-editor: Caveh Zahedi
Associate producer & optical printing: John Turk
Co-writer: Stephanie Rapp


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