Ellen is a film director and freelance film critic. She is a regular contributor to Modern Times Review.

TRUMP’S USA: Fear as entertainment is a well-used bestseller and a Hollywood brand, although we do not often see fear as entertainment in political films that are socially critical

Scared Very Scared

Jay Rosenblatt

USA, 2017

Jay Rosenblatt confesses that the anxiety and fear he experiences in Trump’s USA is of such a degree that he either had to see a therapist or make a movie. The outcome is Scared Very Scared, a 7-minute long short film to premiere during th 60th anniversary of the Leipzig Documentary Film Festival in conjuction with Jay Rosenblatt’s Retrospective Homage.

Double dose

The filmmaker Rosenblatt can’t stop himself. He is looking for archival material until he finds his mildly camouflaged alter ego in an older educational film – an indignant psychiatrist with a Jewish appearance who provides advice on patient management. This chosen frame around the story points directly at himself. Besides the more famous descriptions as a “provocateur” and “film artist”, Rosenblatt himself is a psychiatrist. Placed into context, the choice of position as a medical expert gives us a pointer to the key interpretation. This perspective gives a completely different sublime quality and an alluring space for reflection than similar films that deal with Trump’s America.

America as mistreated patient

Dr. Rosenblatt is fond of metaphors. He leaves little doubt about who the patient represents – vulnerable anxious women and little boys who are bullied or do not dare to speak. A big and strong boy is holding a weak boy down by his throat. The little one: “I’ll do anything!” The bully loosens the grip with the famous words: “You’re on my side!”


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