Arts + Culture

Renowned Experimental Filmmaker Jay Rosenblatt Presented By UCLA Documentary Salon Oct. 13-14


The UCLA Documentary Salon presents an evening of five short films by distinguished experimental director Jay Rosenblatt at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 13, at the James Bridges Theater on UCLA's Westwood campus. Known for his signature style of combining found footage in a collage form to convey astonishingly personal original stories, the San Francisco-based Rosenblatt is considered the most acclaimed filmmaker of this genre working in the United States today.

In addition to attending the screenings and answering questions from the audience, Rosenblatt will teach a special workshop from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14 in Melnitz Hall's Design Room, 2534. Sponsored by the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television in cooperation with the International Documentary Association, both events are free and open to the public.

"Human Remains" (30 mins.) is an intimate portrait of 20th century dictators; Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Franco and Mao. Through vintage newsreel footage and autobiographical excerpts, Mao reveals that he never bathed, smoked 70-80 cigarettes a day, never brushed his teeth and liked to sleep with several young women at the same time.

"King of the Jews" (18 mins.) is Rosenblatt's emotional essay on Christian anti-Semitism blending history, autobiography and Hollywood film clips depicting the life of Jesus. In a "transcendent channel-surfing passion play," said Bruce Bennett of New York's Time Out magazine, "With each stroke of melodramatic visual whimsy, Rosenblatt harvests genuine wonder and compassion from acres of seemingly irrelevant corn."

With silent home movies and old educational films, "The Smell of Burning Ants" (21 mins.) examines the brutal socialization of boys. The documentary is a "profoundly disturbing and imaginative work," said Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times. Rosenblatt says the

vintage black-and-white films connect with viewers' forgotten experiences "by delving into the image bank of our collective unconscious."

In "Short of Breath" (10 mins.), Rosenblatt, a trained psychologist, uses psychological instructional films he found in a dumpster outside a psychiatric hospital where he worked. A haunting, emotional collage about birth, death, sex and suicide, this film was described by Vincent Canby of the New York Times as "a Rorschach test with moving images instead of ink blots."

Also screening during the 80-minute program is "Restricted" (1 min.), an antidote to the "Just Do It" ideology of America.

The Documentary Salon is an ongoing program of screenings and events for the Los Angeles documentary community. Previous Salon evenings have featured the work of preeminent documentary filmmakers such as Albert Maysles, Peter Forgacs, Robert Drew and Richard Leacock.

All screenings take place at the James Bridges Theater in Melnitz Hall, located on the northeast corner of the UCLA campus near the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Hilgard Avenue. Parking is available for $6 per entry in Lot 3 and can be purchased at the attendant booth at the entrance of Wyton Drive, just off Hilgard Avenue. Admission is free and open to the public. Seating is limited, so please arrive early.

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