We are continuing our partnership with DOK Leipzig
to showcase highlights from their tribute Visual Electrics. The Cinema of Jay Rosenblatt
to be exhibited in this year’s 60th festival edition.
“The films of Jay Rosenblatt electrify the viewer in a strange way. Our attention skyrockets to 120 per cent and anyone who has sampled the beguiling eeriness of these works quickly wants more.
The photograph on his website
could be considered a gateway drug. It gives the impression of being a screenshot from an old American film, probably an educational film (but maybe also either a melodrama or a crime movie) from the 1950s: a young boy stands in pyjamas in front of a door that has been left ajar and, caught between fear and curiosity, he is just about to finally tear it open. You imagine an accompanying music that while not necessarily sounding like Bernard Herrmann’s compositions for Hitchcock’s world of suspense, feels just like it – this gives you a fairly precise idea of what goes on in Rosenblatt’s films and what they do to you.
Jay Rosenblatt, who is also Programme Director of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, rarely reaches for the middle ground. His works are either extremely general or extremely personal. So on the one hand we are looking at male children preparing to become real boys (THE SMELL OF BURNING ANT), the stages of grief after losing someone close to you (PHANTOM LIMB), or the banality of evil and how it appears in the private lives of some of the greatest dictators of the twentieth century (HUMAN REMAINS). On the other hand we have Rosenblatt’s diary-like sketches from inside his own (happy) family – self-reflexive gems that ironically disrupt the tone of well-meant self-help literature, as in for example I USED TO BE A FILMMAKER. But either way these are films in the first person singular” – Ralph Eue, DOK Leipzig