Jay Rosenblatt – King of the Jews (2000)

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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. Continue reading

Jay Rosenblatt – Human Remains (1998)

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Human Remains is a haunting documentary which illustrates the banality of evil by creating intimate portraits of five of this century’s most reviled dictators. The film unveils the personal lives of Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin, Francisco Franco and Mao Tse Tung. We learn the private and mundane details of their everyday lives — their favorite foods, films, habits and sexual preferences. There is no mention of their public lives or of their place in history. The intentional omission of the horrors for which these men were responsible hovers over the film.

Human Remains addresses this horror from a completely different angle. Irony and even occasional humor are sprinkled throughout the documentary. This darkly poetic film is based entirely on fact, creatively combining direct quotes and biographical research. Though based on historical figures, Human Remains is contemporary in its implications and ultimately invites the viewer to confront the nature of evil.
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Jay Rosenblatt – The Smell of Burning Ants (1994)

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Winner of 23 Awards

“…a profoundly disturbing and imaginative work.”
–Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

The Smell of Burning Ants is a haunting documentary on the pains of growing up male. It explores the inner and outer cruelties that boys perpetrate and endure. The film provokes the viewer to reflect on how our society can deprive boys of wholeness.

Through formative events of a boy’s life, we come to understand the ways in which men can become emotionally disconnected and alienated from their feminine side. The common dismissal that “boys will be boys” evolves into the chilling realization that boys frequently become angry, destructive and emotionally disabled men. The Smell of Burning Ants illustrates how boys are socialized by fear, power and shame. The film is a catalyst for discussion and an opportunity to begin the process of healing the wounds of childhood. Continue reading