Jay Rosenblatt’s new documentary is all about suicide. Suicide as a way out of a senseless life; suicide as the result of deep depression; suicide as an inexplicable bolt from the blue. The technique he uses is a familiar one: a collage of black-and-white found footage accompanied by a subtle soundtrack and voice-over. In this case, the voice-over is a male voice reading aloud poignant excerpts from the diary of a depressed man: ‘I do not fear death. I fear the empty hours of life that would otherwise lie ahead. A life that seems to me the worst fate for a person on this earth.’ These diary excerpts alternate with a female voice, which provides a historical perspective on the phenomenon of suicide that runs parallel to the images. She talks about depression, harakiri, about who was the first person to jump from the Golden Gate Bridge. She relates how Ernest Hemingway committed suicide, followed by four members of his family. She tells us how a fatal leap by a Japanese girl into a volcano in Oshima signaled both a new trend and the birth of a tourist destination.
Jay Rosenblatt is an internationally recognized artist who has been working as an independent filmmaker since 1980 and has completed over thirty films. His films have received over 100 awards and have screened throughout the world. His most recent films screened for a week at MoMA, and eight of his films have been screened at the Sundance Film Festival. Jay is a recipient of a Guggenheim, USA Artists and a Rockefeller Fellowship. He is a member of the Documentary Branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and served on the Executive Committee for 9 years. Jay is originally from New York and has lived in San Francisco for many years. For more than 20 years he was a film and video production instructor at various film schools, including Stanford University, S.F. State University, and the San Francisco Art Institute. He is currently the Program Director of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. He has a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology and, in a former life, worked as a therapist.
The Darkness of Day
2009, 26', color, video
Jeff Greenwald, Jay Rosenblatt
Erik Ian Walker