Jay Rosenblatt Films - Locomotion Films
Films
When You Awake A Long Way From Home The Darkness of Day The Claustrum The D Train Inquire Within Phantom Limb Human Remains The Smell of Burning Ants King of the Jews Period Piece I Just Wanted to Be Somebody Afraid So Beginning Filmmaking I Used to Be a Filmmaker The Films of Jay Rosenblatt - Vol 1 The Films of Jay Rosenblatt - Vol 2
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Press



SAN FRANCISCO BAY GUARDIAN
November 9, 2005

'Matters of Life and Death: Recent Films by Jay Rosenblatt'

By Ihsan Amanatullah

Mixing the universally impersonal (newsreels, old educational movies) with the immediately personal (his own home movies), Jay Rosenblatt leaves you to close the gap, and you appreciate the delegation and trust. He takes the hard way with his found footage, refusing to score off it, instead imbuing it with a newfound specificity. At their most ominous these shorts tend toward a disquieting stillness, crafted with a clinical edge. The individual films are chains of vignettes, cut with astringent irony, even when capturing subjects of great charm and vivacity, such as his young daughter (as in I Used to Be a Filmmaker, a witty conception of fatherhood as formalist filmmaking). An apparent paradox – a self-effacing personal filmmaker – Rosenblatt lets intertitles address the viewer, eschewing first-person narration for a necessary distance. Anchoring this collection is Phantom Limb, an unsettling freewheeler first centering on the childhood death of Rosenblatt's younger brother, complete with haunting home movies of the dead boy, then moving outward through interviews with a cemetery director and phantom-limb possessor. Some of the odder segments, such as a squirming sheep sheared in slow motion as a grave female voice reads from Advice for a Grieving Parent, harken back to the searing sense of discovery that marks earlier shorts such as Prayer, an eerie post-9/11 marriage of Muslim-Christian genuflection and duck-and-cover footage.



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