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
Phantom Limb
a film about grief and loss

Written and directed by Jay Rosenblatt
28 minutes • Beta SP & 35mm • color/B&W • 2005

Winner of 13 Awards

"A 28-minute tour de force... a beautiful and original exploration of grief and loss."
–Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

The death of my seven-year-old brother when I was nine remains a painful and haunting memory. My parents did not know how to cope with the loss of their child and the entire family experienced indescribable pain. Phantom Limb uses this personal story as a point of departure. Whether it is a loss through death or divorce, the stages of grieving are the same. Individuals often go through denial, anger, bargaining, depression and, ultimately, some kind of acceptance, in order to heal. The film is loosely structured according to these stages. Interspersed throughout this poetic documentary are interviews with a cemetery owner, a phantom limb patient and an author of a book about evidence for life after death. Phantom Limb reminds viewers that while grief is painful and isolating, it is a reminder to each of us that life is impermanent.


"Phantom Limb can only be called - deep breath - an art film. The film is an impressionistic, anti-verite project, which suits the melancholy material; much of this meditation on grief is rendered soundlessly, using archival images, intertitles and the lonesome music of Arvo Part. Art on television - in small doses, it's surprising how easy it goes down."
-Virginia Heffernan, New York Times

"A 28-minute tour de force... a beautiful and original exploration of grief and loss."
–Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

“Rosenblatt’s camera bears witness to something beyond aloneness, rage, or even grief: people’s truly death-defying capacity for resistance and recovery.”
-Abby Stein, Associate Professor, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

“Loosely structured around the stages of grief, it’s visceral, poetic, intelligent, and, finally, affirmative.”
-Jonathan Kiefer, San Francisco Magazine

“A richly crafted portrait of absence/presence that thoughtfully weaves together intimate and candid interviews with unexpectedly transcendent cultural ephemera.”
Bryan Konefsky, Professor, Department of Cinematic Arts , University of New Mexico

“Phantom Limb has that strange, rare and haunting power of being something new each way and every time you look at it.”
-Richard Sowada , Director, Revelation Perth International Film Festival

“A brilliant work of art.”
-Ulla Jacobsen, Dox Magazine

Scene 4 Magazine


First Prize - Black Maria Film & Video Festival
Best Short Documentary - Florida Film Festival
Best Documentary - Belgrade Documentary Film Festival, Serbia
Onda Curta Short Film Award - IndieLisboa, Portugal
Special Jury Award - Seattle International Film Festival
Juror's Choice Award - Humboldt International Film Festival
Honorable Mention - Ann Arbor Film Festival
Best International Short - Prends ça court, Montreal
Special Mention Award - Festival dei Popoli, Italy
Special Mention Award - Imago Film Festival, Portugal
Special Mention Award - Biennale de l’Image en Mouvement, Switzerland
Special Mention Award - Punto de Vista Festival, Spain
Distinguished Documentary Award Nomination - International Documentary Association (IDA)


International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA)
  – Silver Wolf competition
Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, France
Tampere International Short Film Festival, Finland
Visions Du Reel Documentary Film Festival, Switzerland
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
Tribeca Film Festival
Chicago Documentary Film Festival
It’s All True Documentary Film Festival, Brazil
Madrid Documentary Film Festival, Spain
Cracow International Film Festival
Athens Film & Video Festival
Experimental Media Arts Festival, Osnabruck, Germany
Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival
Silverdocs Documentary Film Festival
Newport International Film Festival
Nantucket Film Festival
San Francisco Jewish Film Festival


Producer, Director, Writer & Editor: Jay Rosenblatt
Participants: Tyler Cassity, Chris Cornet, John Lambert, George Dalzell
Assistant Editor & Archival Research: Lucas Morrison
Cinematographers: Ara Corbett, Todd Curtis, Jay Rosenblatt
Beverly Berning
Music: Arvo Pärt, Eliane Radigue


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