Phantom Limb

In twelve short chapters, filmmaker Jay Rosenblatt reflects on the loss of his younger brother in 1964. Eliot Mitchell Rosenblatt was barely seven years old and ill for two years. Jay, who was two years his senior, felt guilty after Eliot’s demise, but was unable to express his feelings. Nobody in the family discussed the subject. ‘Now, several decades later, we still do not talk about him.’ The twelve chapters are introduced as in a silent movie. The inserted titles refer to the different stages of mourning, as the filmmaker experienced them. He uses titles like separation, collapse, grief, denial, confusion, shock, communication and comeback. For each episode, Rosenblatt rummaged the film archives for associative footage, mainly in black-and-white. ‘Collapse’ is illustrated by images of buildings that are demolished with dynamite. In ‘shock’, a scientist describes the reaction of two rats in a cage who are administered a shock. In ‘loss’, a man explains how you can still feel your arm, even if it was amputated a long time ago. This phenomenon is called phantom limb pain.



Country of Production

Year of Production

Beta SP Pal

28 min

Jay Rosenblatt

Locomotion Films

Original Language

Festivals / Awards

Juror’s Choice Award at Humboldt International Film Festival 2005
IDFA (Silver Wolf competition)
Visions du Réel Nyon
Belgrade Documentary and Short FF (Best Documentary)
IndieLisboa (Onda Curta Short Film Award)
Full Frame DFF
Tribeca FF
Chicago DFF
It’s All True DFF
Ann Arbor FF (Honorable Mention)
Madrid DFF
Humboldt IFF (Juror’s Choice Award)
Florida FF (Best Short Documentary)
DOK Leipzig 2017